HR professor


Right Job for the Right Man at the Right Time: An HR Myth

I have taught human resource subjects for a decade now. As a professor, I often come across this line used by my students and colleagues: HR is all about "right job for the right man at the right time." My cynicism about the veracity of this statement has grown over the years. At times, it makes me feel that HR managers cater to notional beliefs of goodness rather than serving as an important area that influences the company's bottom line.

I get quite peeved by the ludicrous nature of this statement. It puts human beings and organizations in a static unchanging time zone where everything is put to a stand still. There are three aspects that bother me: Right job, right man, and right time. I place my argument for each of these aspects below.

Right job:
Now, what is a right job? How does one define a right job? Is right job taken in perspective with the environment or the applicant? Does the right job stay constant in a variable environment? Let's take a case scenario. In the beginning of the dotcom era, Internet seemed to be the way to go. Everybody who was anybody wanted to be in the dotcom business. Software, hardware, internet solutions, and ecommerce business mushroomed in every part of the Web. Dotcom seemed like the right place to be. Times changed, industries changed and the dotcom era was not so hot anymore. Now the focus has shifted to telecom and business process outsourcing. So what is the right job in the new scenario? In a dynamic environment, how can employees match up with the 'right job' every time that the economy changes?

Right man:
Just like the right job, the right man also has limited application. Human beings are constantly evolving. With passing time, people change, their preferences change and so do their values and beliefs. How then, can the concept of right man be held true even for a single moment?

Right time:
This totally defeats the statement. Time is ever changing. If the statement of right job for right man at the right time needs to be upheld, it would require us to constantly improvise on our employee selection list. No employee could suit every changing moment.

In dynamic business environment, this statement seems superfluous, if not misleading. HR managers need to focus on hiring talent that meets organizational objectives. Perfectionism in the process of hiring can only delay results. Neither organizations nor employees can afford to be rigid. It is important that employees align their individual goals with the organizational goals, but at the same time organizations have to be flexible to adjust to individual needs and preferences. With a flexi organization and flexible personnel, organizations can achieve greater success.

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