Editor’s Note: Vitru puts knowledge into the hands of people who need it: managers, teams, employees. Using psychometric assessment testing, each personality is broken down and segmented into a microcosm of work values and traits. Just as each employee has a unique persona, each work value embodies its own narrative. This multi-part blog series sets each of the 12 Vitru Work Values under the microscope to learn significance of each. What they look like manifested in an employee, and how they affect a company as a whole. You’ll get the most out of this series if you’ve taken the Vitru Assess or used Vitru Compare. Both are free!

Opportunity

It’s a unique value, that like our other values is measured on a spectrum. You’re either strong in the opportunity value or it doesn’t mean quite as much to you. As with any other Vitru work value, you can of course, be right in the middle as well. Those who value opportunity are those who want a chance, want to try, maybe have a little ambition in them. In their heads, a chorus is repeated over and over:“How can I learn more? How can I do better?”

Who Are the Opportunists? 

So, what does an individual who places a strong emphasis on this value look like? Think: forward thinkers; the ones never standing still, always seeking out opportunities to advance themselves and their careers, as well as their skills.

Chances to learn a new tech skill, attend a conference or to pick up more responsibility are circumstances the opportunist will sink their teeth into. Motivated by the knowledge that their contributions are noticed and that there is a future for them to maximize their potential, opportunists will ask questions, seek out additional responsibility (sometimes even before they are ready, the hallmark of an intrapreneur) and build teams to further projects.

They may also turn others off with their naked ambition, frustrating those who appreciate traditional job-seeking or who value tenure over ambition. Their desire to climb ever higher can make people fear “getting stepped on.”

A Company Resource:

Hiring one means you’ll always have someone pushing departments forward and never stagnating. Never running from a new process, client or challenge, opportunists see all changes as a possibility for growth. While this is excellent for growth, it can be troublesome when the company’s growth plateaus. Do your best to find new opportunities for those who value opportunity

72% of employees feel inspired to do their best on the job but most of the employees said they’re overdue for a raise, and a significant number said they’ll need to leave their current company in order to advance their career. Meanwhile, the majority said their employer cares more about the bottom line than their employees’ career paths. It’s a sure bet that many of these are opportunists, they know where they want their career to go. If you want to keep them engaged, you’d better pay attention!

Teams can be supercharged with an opportunist’s wide eyes at the helm. Release the constraints to let these people think outside of the box. Intrinsically motivated, opportunists push themselves forward, pulling the company along with them. If there is no room for succession, feel free to give the opportunist a chance to shine in a different department. If you can give them a raise (instead of a title), do so, as their newfound ambition will inspire those within their department.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees theopportunity in every difficulty.” ― Winston S. Churchill

What This Means for You:

How do we keep up with the opportunist? Retention proves to be a potential threat if cut-and-dry pathways for moving up the flowchart are not extended. Whether it be training, titles or promotions, opportunists will constantly be looking for ways to advance their careers. And when they come up dry, there is no longer a reason to stay. 49% of employees say they need to leave their company to get to the next level in their career. If you value the opportunists in your midst, don’t let them go!

Do: Open the channel of communication and, if not overtly obvious, present pathways to advancement. Ask what their goals are and determine the steps to take each month to reach it. Set up an online training class, offer a networking event invite, loan a leadership book. Make sure to build around their desire to lead. If you have an opportunist who has been chomping at the bit to move forward, let them, but make sure to present it as a challenge or they may walk away. One great thing about managing those who value opportunity is you can have great expectations. They thrive on proving themselves in difficult situations.

Fit Farm

Opportunists, especially Millennial ones, want concrete pathways up the ladder. Does this mean opportunists fit better into a traditional corporate organizational structure with established promotional avenues? Not necessarily. An opportunist with some gumption can do wonders at a small startup with open collaboration and a make-it-your-own work culture. Watch them intermix between departments, or even create their own.

“ A firm’s organizational chart is going to impact workers’ career paths through the personnel policies it enables the firm to put in place,” says Kellogg’s Jin Li, “ and while the chance of promotion is a boon for employees and an incentive to keep them loyal to an employer, a lack of opportunity will drive talented workers elsewhere .

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