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The FQi Factor

The FQi Factor: Why Retaining Employees with High Figureoutability is a No-Brainer

Recently, I came across a concept that I had not heard before: figureoutability. I think of figureoutability as the willingness of a person to accept challenges that are complex, to analyze them from whatever perspectives are available (limited as they may be), and then to address them to whatever extent they can be addressed. This makes an employee adaptable and resilient, the kind of employee you should worry about retaining. This ability is also refer to this idea as a growth mindset.

To my mind, the core components of figureoutability are initiative, problem solving, and follow-through.

Figureoutability is important in many aspects of life, including education and career. In education, students who are able to figure things out on their own are more likely to be successful in their academic pursuits. They are able to learn independently, identify their own strengths and weaknesses, and develop problem-solving skills that are valuable both inside and outside of the classroom.

In the workplace, figureoutability is highly valued by employers, although probably not by that name. Employees who are able to tackle roadblocks on their own are more productive, resourceful, and creative. They are able to identify and solve problems independently, which can save the organization time and money. In addition, employees who possess a high FQi (Figureoutablity Quotient Indicator – is it too late to trademark that?) should be more resilient and adaptable to change.

The writings that I have seen discuss figureoutability in the context of hiring for it.

But what about the other end of the talent management spectrum – the value of retaining employees who possess it and use it to the organization’s benefit?

To me, the importance of retaining someone who had figureoutability is a no-brainer. Considering the dimensions of the classic 9-Box, it could make that employee a high performer, a high potential or both.

Here are some ideas for retaining an employee with a high FQi:

Challenge them

Someone who can generate solutions in difficult, undefined situations probably really enjoys the mental gymnastics involved in the exercise. Be willing to give them BHAPs (Big Hairy Audacious Problems) and ask for their thoughts on how to address them. Even if they cannot get to a fully implementable solution, they may get you closer and their thought process can help point out options that more senior leaders in the organization (with greater knowledge and access to resources) can run with.

Give them public recognition

While they are likely very customer-oriented and see their ability to figure things as an act of service, they likely have a good bit of their self-image and ego connected to their figureoutability. Department-wide or even company-wide (depending on the impact of the latest conundrum that they helped address) will go a long way towards reinforcing their self-image and encouraging initiative in others.

Reward them for it

While recognition is great, their figureoutability makes them a rare and highly valued human asset to your organization. They can positively impact productivity, morale, quality which all spells measurable impact. A financial investment in their retention as an employee will have a positive ROI on the organization as a whole as well as the employees that work with them.

So, take note of your employees with high FQi’s. If you don’t have any, I feel badly for you. They are invaluable and something you should look for in all of your future hires.

Thanks to Danielle Truesdale Hester and Matt Tanner for the inspiration provided by their recent posts on the topic.

Having a thorough employee retention strategy can set your company apart from its rivals. Reduce employee turnover, retain top talent, and establish an engaged workforce with TalentQuest.

Jon Naphin is a Vice President with TalentQuest. As a client advocate, he takes a lead role in directing TalentQuest’s activities within select client relationships. Prior to joining TalentQuest, Jon held management positions at General Motors, ADP and Peachtree Software. He is the founding Chairman of LaAmistad, an Atlanta-based non-profit providing tutoring and life-skills training to Latino students and their families. Jon is a native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, earned his Bachelor’s degree from Kettering University in Flint Michigan and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.

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