Biblical Principles of Hiring and Developing Employees
While the practice of hiring people for their knowledge, skills, and abilities has been the norm for decades, Bowen, Ledford, and Nathan (1991) suggested that employers should hire people based on values, attitudes, interests, as well as social and interpersonal skills. Managers can hire the right employee by focusing on the person’s fit with the organization and with the specific job. In the book Biblical Principles of Hiring and Developing Employees, I use the seven Beatitudes from Matthew Chapter 5 as virtues, which serve the same purpose as Bowen, Ledford, and Nathan’s focus on values. I use the seven motivation gifts from Romans Chapter 5 as the attitudes and interests that help understand what jobs a potential employee might best fit.
The concepts of person-organization and person-job fit are part of the greater person-environment fit, presented by Lewin (1951), and the specific focus on attitudes and interests relate to McGregor’s (1960) writings in which McGregor claimed that people would expend the same energy and effort into work as they did at play as long as employees personal values aligned with the organization. While we have known about person-job and person-organization fit for over half a century, contemporary organizations have only started using the concepts recently, as seen in Afsar’s (2016) study showing the relationship of person-organization fit with innovative workplace behaviors and Hamid and Yahya’s (2016) findings that person-job fit positively impacted both employee engagement and employee retention. Both engagement and retention contribute to organizational effectiveness.
In addition to person-organization and person-job fit, I posit, in the book, that scripture describes organizational/personal success through the four Cs of (a) calling, (b) competence, (c) confidence, and (d) character. People from the Old Testament, such as Joseph, Moses, Ezra, Ezekiel, and Daniel, help us understand how God’s calling results in success. But, more success occurs where people also have competence as illustrated by Solomon’s call for competent and talented artisans to help build the temple. Success increases even more when we look at confidence, with an example from Elijah, when he lost his confidence after demonstrating success in a battle with the 450 prophets of Baal. Jezebel’s ire caused Elijah to give up and leave the ‘worksite’. Surprisingly, the last of the four Cs is character, in which I show the importance of character from the Old Testament passages of Psalms 1 and 15 as well as from the New Testament passages of Philemon, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter.
Yet selecting and hiring good potential employees is not enough; new employees should be developed throughout their career to increase organizational effectiveness and prepare employees for new responsibilities. One of the ways that organizations can develop employees is by using the New Testament Concept Nomos, or ‘rule’. We are familiar with this from the word ‘autonomous’ meaning ‘self-ruled'. Nomos has three levels: (a) rule by edit, (b) rule by reason, and (c) rule by love. New employees should be trained to follow the rules, but as time progresses and employees demonstrate their mastery of the rules as well as their mastery of reason logic, employees should be released to use reason and logic, rather than the rules, when appropriate. Then, as employees demonstrate their understanding of love in the workplace, in addition to reason and logic, employees should be released to make decisions based on Agapao Love, which consists for behaviors toward others that do the right thing for the right people, at the right time, and for the right reason, which is like Hardie’s (1964) paraphrase from Aristotle’s definition of a virtue, which connects the practice of the three-tiered concept of Nomos back to Beatitudes.
The book’s conclusion sums up the whole of the book by looking at Acts 6: 1-7 when the Disciples called upon the brethren to “select from among you seven men of good reputation full of the Spirit, and of wisdom whom we might put in charge . . .” (NAS).
In the book, I present measurement instruments that can be used to measure each of the virtues from the Beatitudes and each of the motivational gifts from Romans 12. In the book, I present how the Romans 12 gifts can be used as a profile to see the whole person’s motivational gifts work together to form the fit for the job. Scripture contains concepts and principles that help leaders and managers hire and develop employees to create effective organizations.
Afsar, B. (2016). The impact of person-organization fit on innovative work behavior: The mediating effect of knowledge sharing behavior. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance. 29(2) 104-122.
Bowen, D. E., Ledford, G. E. & Nathan, B. R. (1991). Hiring for the organization, not the job. Academy of Management Executive. 5(4). 35-51.
Hamid, S. N. A, & Yahya, K, K. (2016). Mediating Role of Work Engagement on the Relationship between Person-Job Fit and Employees’ Retention: Evidence from Semiconductor Companies in Northern Region of Malaysia. International Review of Management and Marketing. 6(S7) 187-194.
Hardie, W. F. R. (1964). Aristotle's doctrine that virtue is a "mean." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, 65, 183-204.
Lewin, K. (1951), Field Theory in Social Science, Harper & Row, New York, NY.
McGregor, D. (1960). The human side of enterprise. New York: McGraw-Hill
Bruce E. Winston, author of Biblical Principles of Hiring and Developing Employees, is Professor of Business and Leadership at Regent University, USA. He previously served as Dean of the School of Leadership Studies.