"Human beings are like icebergs. There is more to man than what meets the eye. Just as an iceberg has more than 80% submerged below water, what we see is only the tip, only 20% of its entire being."
Sadly in the corporate world too, most candidates are selected on the basis of this same iceberg principle. When a candidate appears for a job interview, the interviewer in that short time is only able to gauge the competency of the candidate on the basis of what meets the eye. That is namely his skills and knowledge. He is subjected to a battery of assessments which aims to precisely understand whether he is competent to perform on the job, fulfil his job responsibilities and help the organization meet its goals.
Typically any employee or man's persona is divided into the following
Knowledge: Information in his specialization of work
Skills: Ability to perform his task well. This is an area in which an employee can be trained in.
Self Image: How an individual regards himself; assesses his worth in his own eyes- helpful, trustworthy, leader, follower etc
Traits: The habits that an individual possesses which defines him- angry, impatient, creative, inspiring etc
Motives: What drives a person to perform, excel.
Values: What does an individual think is important in life? Truth, honesty, respect to others etc.
What escapes the eye is the submerged or hidden part of his persona. While knowledge and skills are evidently tested through technical tests, the behavior and attitude and essence of that person is completely left to chance. Needless to say, none of these behaviourial facets can be assessed in a short time at the selection and interview stage. It is only when the person commences with his employment that this submerged part starts manifesting in myriad ways.
Recently the media was buzzing with the news of a Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz crashing the plane into the French Alps, chillingly ending the lives of 149 innocent onboard passengers. Lubitz was an under experienced pilot with inadequate hours of practice. This could have been sorted out by giving him adequate flying hours and technical training. But would that have averted the tragedy? Perhaps not! What went unnoticed was his suicidal tendencies and depression; all behaviourial and submerged traits. We have rampant such cases, in the corporate world and otherwise. Scandals, scams, extortion and corruption are all manifestations of disturbances happening in the submerged part of every human being. The hidden part of the human iceberg calls for urgent attention.
All organizations should take heed of this serious matter. Many have initiated attempts to delve deeper into their incumbent's personality by conducting behaviourial and psychological evaluations. Assessment tools and HR interviews are ways to scratch the surface. What could make these evaluations deeper and meaningful would be to conduct periodic training and evaluation. Behaviourial and Softskills training have been gaining traction recently. While knowledge and skills are augmented by technical training, a peep into the psyche of an employee is done through these training. A host of such training, namely Johari window, Communication Styles of Mangers, Team Dynamics, Excelling in Interpersonal Skills, Giving and Seeking Help, Consensus Building, Negotiations Skills and many others are being conducted. These should ideally be done in an experiential format where the premise of “here and now” is used. How an individual behaves at that given point is taken as a base and debriefing is done according to the behavior manifested at that point. The logic is that in an experiential environment, an individual's latent behavior comes to the fore and he is at his natural best. There are no arms and no pretensions! This is wonderfully complemented with technical training leading to wholesome development of the employee. Problems if any are intercepted right away and dealt with appropriately through counseling or mentoring by managers.
The benefits of training are multiple. Apart from addressing employees' weakness or challenges, (which is a better sounding word today), training enhances work performance, sustains work satisfaction, increases productivity, empower employees by making them accept failures and work on them, improvement in quality of products and services, macro and not micro management, team work, and overall reduction in supervision cost. These are just the tangible benefits. The intangible ones are multiple!
The writing is clear on the wall. Organizations must invest in training to really know the employees, not as technical contributors who have come from pedigreed alma maters but from strong and grounded value systems, with an innate urge to make it big on their self worth rather than skills and knowledge.