Kids growing up seem to think there are only about five jobs for grownups--doctor, firefighter, cop, astronaut, and teacher. But even after they grow up, many people have a fairly narrow understanding of the career opportunities that are out there. This can be seen in staffing agencies who are trying to place temps in some more obscure positions, and it can prove challenging to get workers to take on these assignments.
It's all in how you frame it to them. Guide your workers through these scenarios when they are initially reluctant to take on such work.
Stepping Stone Assignments
The people who best understand the inner workings at a place of business are those who have worked in those behind-the-scenes jobs. The classic example is the CEO who worked up from the mail room, or the school principal who once swept its floors.
This isn't just about getting hired at the CEO job, though, and that's what you should emphasize with your workers. It's about getting the experience necessary to understand the CEO role more fully, leading to a more successful experience.
As just one example, look at scientific laboratories. While the daily work done there is at the hands of Ph.D.'s and other highly educated people, there are many related jobs that keep the lab running smoothly. Such facilities are often storehouses of large quantities of sensitive biological material, everything from research tissue to DNA samples from crime scenes.
People who understand the filing and storage systems--as well as the machinery to preserve those samples--help the samples remain intact for processing. And when these labs move to new facilities, the lab movers who manage your relocation learn the ins and outs of organizing those materials. Both groups of workers would consequently be very effective in the management role some day.
There is a lot to be said for the worker who latches onto a job for 30-plus years and sees little variation in the work. There's no doubt that employees like these are priceless to their companies, and if they're happy in those jobs, that's great.
But attention spans are shorter, and most people change jobs frequently in their lifetimes these days. People expect more stimulation from their work. So when they have taken on employment outside your staffing firm after you've placed them in a wide variety of roles, they are better positioned to move into other jobs when their first one begins to grow tiresome.
A broad base of experience also permits lateral moves because workers get a taste of different tasks within the company, providing some variety in their routine without forcing them to leave the company.
Avoiding Front-Office Hassles
For other workers, you can appeal to their desire to be right in the heart of the operation without being the person subjected to heat from customers or the media. Think of it as a high-profile anonymity, such as the role of a songwriter. You're never recognized in public, but you are personally acquainted with dozens of famous performers and you make quite a bit of money.
Look at an NFL football team. A few dozen players and coaches are in front of the cameras and known worldwide. They are also the targets of irate social media posts, snarky stadium signs, and pundit rants on TV. In the meantime, the trainers work quietly on the sidelines, on a first-name basis with these megastars and yet driving themselves home after work without so much as a thrown beer from the fans.
As is often in the case in a staffing role, it's critical to work through placement suggestions with workers rather than simply sending them. When workers have a better understanding of where an ancillary position can lead them, their enthusiasm will increase and you'll find a worker who is a better fit for everyone involved.