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3 ways to manage your office misfit

Asia’s most renowned regional HR Excellence Awards is back in October in Singapore and Malaysia to sieve out HR’s finest gems. Are you a diamond in the rough? View the categories and find out more.

The case for recruiting high-potential candidates who don’t fit into your organisation’s culture has been well made. After all, as Steve Jobs and many other visionaries have shown, corporate success is rarely achieved by ardent supporters of the status quo.

The ability to question, think differently and inspire are traits recruiting managers often look out for in candidates. But maintaining a balance between encouraging their radical creativity and enabling the smooth efficiency of your organisation remains a difficult line to tread.

Here are a few things you can do to help your creative talent fit in, while not discouraging them from thinking differently:

1. Acknowledge their accomplishments

It’s hard enough being the office misfit, but it’s even harder when the one person who brought them into the company doesn’t value their work. If you are not willing to encourage different ideas and embrace change, you shouldn’t be hiring ‘different’ talent in the first place.

Reward them when necessary, even via simple and informal means like praising their work in the office pantry to other people. This will not only spur your creative talent forwards, but also inspire others in your office to do the same.

2. Give them time to learn your corporate culture

Remember that misfits, by definition, don’t fit. They are supposed to be productively against the status quo, and not champions of it. So be patient when attempting to assimilate them within your organisation’s culture through team building activities.

While misfits don’t easily gel with large groups of people, they are obsessed with learning and attempting to bring change to things. If they chafe against your company’s policies and culture at first, remember to embrace those points of friction when you can. It’ll probably be for the best.

3. Set up an open support system

Addressing issues encountered and always being objective are key responsibilities every manager must hold, but being more aware of the progress of your different talent will definitely help in the long run.

While you shouldn’t micromanage their work (you probably won’t have time anyway), look out for potential problems they are facing, and help them in whatever way you can. If you’ve hired the right talent, it will definitely pay off in the long run.

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