The key to long-term satisfaction and retention? Job matching

You’ve just landed yourself a new job. You feel valued. More confident about your future. Friends and family are happy for you, and celebrate your success.

If you have a disability, the jubilation will often be greater. For families that might have only felt anxiety about an individual’s future, this new job can be life-changing for everybody.

But imagine that dreamt-of job quickly going pear-shaped and vanishing into thin air. The confusion and distress of it. The recriminations. More often than not, both in the workplace and in the home, it is assumed that the job loss is the worker’s fault. This can have devastating effects on individuals and families. The job seeker’s sense of failure can be profound and self-perpetuating.

When we have a close look at what went wrong, we often see the real culprit: the disability employment service has simply not done its homework.

I have so many examples of people and families unnecessarily traumatised by the loss of jobs that were never going to be sustainable in the first place. Where employer expectations are realised too late, or where nobody has had the patience to allow a job seeker’s talents and desires to unfold. I have been guilty of this myself – I know it takes time to build the skills and intuition to place a job seeker in the right job.   

I talk a lot about job retention. That’s because it’s impossible for me to overstate how important it is! How can anybody – with or without disability – achieve financial independence without maximum work participation and long-term job retention?

And what is the key to long-term satisfaction and retention? Two words: job matching.

It’s essential for the employment service to find work that fits the candidate rather than sourcing candidates that fit the work. It may appear to be a subtle difference but it’s a vital indicator.

Facilitating job matches requires considerable skill and is the mark of an effective employment consultant. We need to ask open questions and truly listen to the answers. We need to fully understand the demands of the job and the skills of the worker.

Combined with flexible post-placement support, individualised job matching achieves a retention rate of 80 per cent beyond six months, as opposed to an ad hoc approach achieving just 50 per cent.

Success comes in the form of a job that is matched to the job seeker’s aspiration and ability.

- Martin Wren