MSPB Emphasizes Finding, Making Good Fits in the Workplace

There is a strong correlation between how well employees fit their jobs–or their jobs fit them–and how much effort they put into their work and thus how well they perform, MSPB has said, adding that steps are available to agencies to address bad matches.

The merit board said that general research shows that matching employees with jobs they do best and creating opportunities for them to capitalize on their strengths increased their effort and performance. In examining whether that applies in the federal workplace MSPB concluded that it does, based on responses to its own 2016 Merit Principles Survey and the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint survey.

“We found that job fit is a key driver of discretionary effort, which in turn is a key driver of employees’ performance ratings. Importantly, statistical analyses show that discretionary effort appears to be a causal mechanism that connects job fit to performance rating. This means that the better the fit between employees and the work they do, the more discretionary effort they will put forth which will in turn increase individual performance,” a recent MSPB publication said.

A good fit starts with good recruitment and assessment practices, and realistically portraying the job to candidates, MSPB said. This could include for example statements in the vacancy announcement to the effect of “This job is for you if you like . . .” Using job simulations as an assessment tool similarly will provide realistic situations to help determine if a job is a good fit, it said.

After hiring, jobs can be redesigned to include duties that better match the employee’s competencies and interests, and employees can be rotated among positions where there is a better match, it added.