Managing the Right Employee who’s in the Wrong Job?

by Mike O'Neill

Sometimes good employees are simply in the wrong job. If you have employees who are not able to fully utilize their skills & abilities, they won’t meet their full potential or your needs as their manager.
You may have hired the right person, but in today’s fast-changing work environment … employees who aren’t encouraged to continually learn & develop may find that the right role quickly becomes the wrong fit.
When you have an employee, who needs a role change, consider these options:
FIND THE RIGHT ROLEIf an employee isn’t as well suited to a role as you thought, don’t automatically write them off. Before making any decisions, speak with the employee, encouraging them to be open about what they expect from their role in the company. Ask your employees questions and discuss how they want to learn & develop. Not only is this critical in engaging your employees and ensuring they are content in their role, it also helps teams perform better.

Find out if they have a skill or talent that is underutilized in their current position. This means more than just asking if there’s something they’d rather be doing. Rather, you should ask them if the company is getting their best work,  and how they could put their skills to better use.


The transition from one role to another doesn’t have to be difficult, and it shouldn’t feel like an inconvenience to you or your employees.

You can foster natural progression & movement of talented employees by offering open access to internal positions and opportunities for career mobility within your organization.

It’s important to give employees some control over the situation too – don’t let them feel like it’s something being done to them. Let them know your goal is to help them develop to their full potential, and mean it.

Work with your employees as a team, and make sure they understand that you are on their side and want them to stay with the company.

If the change is done well, it will nearly always result in improved morale and productivity. Not just for that employee, but often for anyone else whose work was impacted by that employee’s responsibilities.


The best way to manage a potential issue is by preventing it. Make sure you are hiring employees who truly fit the position they’re interviewing for.

Hiring managers should keep in mind the environment they want for their company. Choose applicants who will encourage a more agile workforce and progressive culture.

Talented individuals know that, to remain employable throughout their career, they must be willing to continually learn and improve their skills. They understand that employability depends less on what you already know and more on the ability to learn, apply and adapt.


In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing,

the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Theodore Roosevelt

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