Attracting Top Talent

Where Do We Find Another Matt?

If we want our businesses to grow and prosper, it is imperative that we find more employees like Matt! Matt is a real employee. He has his personal life that is important to him and issues that he struggles with, and he wants a career that he can be proud of and that will let him both feel good about his achievements and earn an outstanding income. He will outperform most other employees that you put him up against.

What is it that is so special about Matt?

Well, Matt is not only a hard worker, but he manages the business like it is his own. He shows commitment every day, not only in the quantity of the work that he performs, but also in the way that he performs it. He has a true passion about the business and that is difficult to find in many employees today. The end of his day is when the job is done; he takes initiative when others have long gone home. That doesn’t mean that he is over worked, it means that he wants the job done right what ever time it takes. He sees any extra time that he puts in as an investment, in his career, the organization, and his job. He appreciates the company.

What is it that makes an employee like Matt so hard to find?

The complexities of what attracts and motivates employees are things that keep human resources people in business. However, there is no holy grail to attract a Matt. Each one of us is different and what attracts and motivates one individual is benign to another. After years of involvement with many employees, different businesses and programs, it still comes down to the organization, its management, the nature of the job and the individual. That motivation which is so elusive has to come from within. Trying to find the “right” plan or program to do the job can only reward or motivate some of the staff.

The key is creating the environment where employees can motivate themselves. While it is often very difficult to create and it requires considerable time and resources, when it is present, people like Matt want to be a part of it. They thrive in it, it excites them and their behavior and performance reflect its presence. Achieving the type of commitment and loyalty that Matt exhibits is partly about him and partly about the organization.

People like Matt revel in the company successes (their own and others) and get angry when they feel that someone is taking but not contributing. Internally sensitivity motivates them to giving and a need for contribution. Even the best incentive program is not the sole source of their inspiration. They do however need to feel appreciated and rewarded. What makes him difficult to find is the combination of personal traits or inherent qualities and trainable skills that create and develop someone like Matt. This means that to find more of them; we have to ensure that we are selecting the “right” qualities in the candidates we hire. Also, if we value their contribution and we want to increase our employee population with other Matts, then it is important to invest the resources and energy to not only identify them, but also ensure that we take care of them.

What then are the requirements to successfully build an organization around people like Matt?


  1. Proper selection criteria are critical to attracting and recruiting a person like Matt. Too often, managers interview without clear evaluation and decision criteria. To capture a Matt, you need to have a clear and realistic position profile and an accurate competency model that reflects both the personal and job related requirements that the applicants must demonstrate.    These competencies include initiative, service orientation, accountability, team orientation and professionalism. How do you ensure that these qualities are in each new hire? It requires a significant amount of work to be done prior to the hiring. Identifying and selecting the “Matt” profile requires not only the development of a competency model but also an organizational commitment to hire against it. Too often to “fill the job” we accept people that don’t fully fit the profile that we need and most often we are required to refill the job soon after because we didn’t consistently evaluate against the model.


  1. Identify the gaps at the time of recruitment that may need to be filled for your Matt to fully perform the role. It is rare that a person comes into a new role with all the skills that are required of an entirely qualified performer. On boarding is not just about providing an orientation and some information on policies and practices, it is about preparing the new employee for success. This necessitates investing is those elements that will differentiate between the average performer and a Matt.


  1. Clarity in direction and expectations is imperative to optimize a Matt resource. They do not need to be micromanaged! Rather, they need to understand what you want them to achieve (and why….and the why IS important), the parameters within which they can work and the expected outcomes and deliverables. Documentation and timing are essential elements of creating the performance framework for Matt.


  1. Rewards are important to ensure that Matt can manage his life and lifestyle. In our modern era, this means a competitive base salary, with incentives tied to tactical activities within the line-of-sight that he can affect. People like Matt are action-oriented individuals who typically work well under pressure when they can control the outcomes. Stress significantly distracts them, when they can’t.


  1. Finally, recognition is crucial to the performance of a Matt. Appreciation is as good as money to them. A work environment where they get consistent and relevant feedback maintains their motivation and spurs them to perform to even higher levels. They do not however have big egos that need constant stroking. They feel rewarded through both team and individual accolades.


Today, businesses need people who strive to achieve, sometimes even against significant odds. It is a highly competitive business environment that we operate in and superior performance is critical to achievement of business goals. To be successful you need people like Matt and you need to treat them well. The bonus for your organization is that they are contagious and before you know it, you will have not one but an organization just like Matt.


David Johnston C.H.R.P., is President of Sales Resource Group Inc. He can be reached at'

Author: Editor

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