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Misplaced Talent and The Person-Environment Fit

Person-environment fit is the level of fit between you and your workplace environment. The theory behind this fit is that everyone has an environment with which they would be most compatible. The behavior depends on the person and the environment. Characteristics of the person include preferences, interests, KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities), values, personality traits, and goals. Environmental factors can include vocational norms, demands of the job, values, and organizational culture. The basic idea of the theory is simple: if you work in an optimal environment for you, good things will happen, including performance, improved work attitude, and less stress.

Through the modern capability to accumulate huge amounts of data, managers can determine pretty accurately if they have the right people in the right places.

This puts pressure on the HR department that has to hire employees with the required capabilities, skills, and characteristics for the jobs and develop these employees to achieve their highest potential. The main goal is a strong employment relationship, which requires managers to make the right decisions related to responsibility assignments, recruitment, staff, and discipline, among other things.

The Person-Environment Fit

The first step in creating the optimal employer relationship is to have the right criteria for the kind of talent the company wants to attract. Then, the organization must develop the right strategies to attract the right people. That means creating a clear employer-value proposition (EVP), which is then communicated to potential candidates through effective branding. The employment brand must demonstrate those promises through an aspirational, credible, and consistent message.

As important as the employment criteria are to the process, things get really serious when employees are hired. This is why human resources must work to create an employment relationship that shows a great person-environment fit right away.

The person-environment fit is, essentially, a synonym for “right people in the right place.”

A good fit is achieved if the organization has effectively applied the skills, knowledge, and ability of the employees to effectively do the job. In turn, the organization fulfills the needs of its employees, and people feel that the work they do is and is contributing to a higher purpose.

For example, organizations will use various interviews, ability tests, and job simulations to effectively assess future employees so they can apply their skills, knowledge, and abilities. Fulfilling the needs of employees is done with the help of psychometric tests that can help identify the motivators, personality characteristics, and values of the employees. However, organizations should not misuse the psychometrics results.

The last factor of the person-environment fit includes the sense that the organization and employees are moving in the same direction. To accomplish this feeling, organizations and their employees must keep contact, which is slowly built through time and the organization’s effort to invest in the employee.

The problem of misplaced talent is a commentary on human-resources techniques and tools, and it’s nothing new. However, understanding this issue has given us a valuable manual that helps managers transform their organization.

Discover the best way to find the optimal person-environment fit, consistently connect with your leadership team, and predictably turn them into highly engaged employees. Call me for some complimentary advice. Book an appointment at or call me at +1 (604) 943-0800.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734