Is the chemistry there?

I personally think this is the toughest stage of all five.  At this stage, everything is focused around chemistry and the beginning of REAL commitment in a job.  Everyone is starting to let their guard down and we are really getting to know each other.  The tensions of the new relationship fade away and true personalities are emerging.  This is typically the stage right before we convert a temporary employee to permanent.  In this stage, several different layers of chemistry are determined. 

Emotional chemistry creates affection, caring and trust for one another.  We spend the bulk of our time at work, so we develop a bond with our co-workers.  Even if the current environment isn’t perfect, the job is lacking in certain areas, or the candidate is missing a skill set, everyone is willing to overlook these deficiencies if there is an emotional connection.  If that emotional bond is achieved, a more confident give and take can be accomplished.

Mental chemistry generates interest and receptivity.  An employee needs to be engaged in what they are doing and be challenged.  If they are not mentally stimulated, an employee won’t perform at their highest potential.  At the same time, employers should not overwhelm an employee.  The mental chemistry must remain in balance.

Spiritual chemistry opens our hearts, creating love, appreciation and respect.  In the workplace, tensions can be high and sometimes people can snap (just like significant others can snap in a fight).  This chemistry gives us the power to overcome the judgements, doubts, demands and criticism we may sometimes experience in a work environment. 

The strategy of Stage 4 is mastering all stages of chemistry to become more intimate to graduate to Stage 5: Engagement.

In my experience, there are three paths in Stage 4. 1. The chemistry isn’t there after a few months of a temporary trial and the relationship is ended.  2. All is right in the world and we graduate to Stage 5.  3. The relationship needs more time and Stage 4 is extended.

Number 3 is the most dangerous.  In a romantic relationship; this is the part in the movie where one party says they have something important to give the other, only it is a key to their apartment and NOT an engagement ring!  This is when the receiving party typically begins to feel insecure.  They will begin to ask a lot of questions about where the relationship is going and will begin to pay more attention to their role in the relationship.  At the same time, the receiving party may begin to feel resentful that they are not getting the same level of commitment from their partner. 

I think many of us have been in this moment before, both professionally and personally.  Somehow the communication lines got crossed along the way.  Let’s compare this to the working world.  You’re not sure if you are ready to commit to your temporary employee, so you want to keep them on as a temp a bit longer.  Be prepared that this may put a strain on emotional chemistry.  The employee will begin to feel undervalued or insecure in their abilities.  If you feel the relationship is worth investing in, make a structured plan of what areas the employee needs to improve on and why.  Include a time frame of when you will re-evaluate their progress. This will strengthen the emotional chemistry.  Without clear communication of expectations, like in all relationships, the relationship may fall apart.

When all levels of chemistry have been achieved, we can move onto the final stage.  If any element is missing, then the relationship is doomed for failure.  Not everyone is a fit for a new environment and their position within the team.  Without all levels of chemistry achieved, the relationship may be headed for break-up (employment separation).  Sometimes, all a long-term relationship needs is a little nurturing to push it to the next level.  Reach out to your HR support person and enter into counseling.  Sometimes all we need is a little nudge in the right direction to make that spark glow. 

How many of your most valued long-term hires were dangerously close to not progressing beyond Stage 4?  What steps did you take to progress the relationship?  I would love to hear from you, comment below!

Kristi Telschow, CEO – WorkDynamX