Since my life’s work has always focused on self-awareness and well being, I have made those two attributes the criterion for people I want to work with. In my course, The Soul of Leadership, I advise employers not only to get references and bios from prospective employees, but also to engage with them before hiring in creating a “Soul Profile”. Here are the questions that we ask when we create a soul profile:
1. What makes you joyful? Can you recall the most joyous moments of your life?
2. What is your life purpose?
3. In what way do you want to contribute to the business or organization?
4. What are your unique talents and skills and who would benefit from them?
5. Who are your heroes/heroines/mentors in history, mythology, religion or contemporary times?
6. What are the qualities you look for in a good friendship?
7. What are the best attributes that you have that contribute to a meaningful relationship?
Asking a person to write down two or three words or phrases in answer to each of these questions gives both them and you an idea of the meanings, the context, the relationships, and the archetypal themes in their life. It also is an expression of their deeper core consciousness and what drives their passion and their vision. The key to a successful business or organization is the creation of dynamic teams where a) there is a shared vision, b) people acknowledge and complement each other strengths (as in a sports team), c) everyone is emotionally bonded and cares for each other. Such teams, between 5-12 people take time to form, but guarantee success.
In my view, focusing only on professional skills can lead to problems. In many instances technical skills can frequently be outsourced adequately. However, what makes an organization or business successful are core values, qualities of character, vision, purpose, camaraderie, and joy. And these cannot be outsourced.
In addition, I am realizing more and more that addiction to distraction is becoming a hazard in the workplace. Employees who have an interest in personal growth including practices like mindfulness and focused awareness are not only healthier, but contribute to the well being of an organization/business. It is becoming clear now that multitasking is the one skill that gets worse with practice and may indeed be harmful to our cortical brain. In an information-based society, information overload can actually be a hazard. Information overload cost US businesses about 28% of their knowledge workers’ day and up to $1 trillion dollars in lowered productivity. This, in a nation where the gross domestic product, is about $15 trillion dollars. We pay a huge price in productivity and well being for addiction to technologies, distractions, and mindlessness instead of mindfulness. If as an employer you are aware that the well being of your employees includes the following you will be enormously successful as a business/organization.
1. Career wellbeing – make sure that employees enjoy what they do; acknowledge their strengths and make their opinions count.
2. Social well being – encourage friendships, camaraderie, and celebration in the workplace.
3. Provide encouragement and facilities if possible for meditation, exercise and recreation.
4. Encourage employees in the well-being of their communities.
5. Make sure that employees feel safe financially; help create plans for savings and adequate insurance.
The above suggestions are gathered from data over several years at The Gallup Organization where I serve as a senior scientist. While the above recommendations are not exactly about how to hire people, when people find out that those criteria are important to your business and organization, then the right kind of employees will be attracted to your business/organization.
Remember that your own personal well-being, and how you model that in your life, will attract the right people to you.
Recent research as outlined above is the best predictor of long-term employee engagement and the success of an organization/business/community.