The Secrets to Hiring Well

147The Secret to Hiring Well:An Organizational Resource Strategy

By Dr. Alice Waagen
President & Founder
Workforce Learning

When organizational leaders are looking to fill a staff vacancy, I suggest that they start by creating an organizational staffing or resource plan.

I prefer to call this plan an “organizational resource strategy,” because many organizations are achieving work goals by using a wide variety of staffing options, including full-time staff, temporary workers, contractors, vendors, consultants, interns, fellows — the list goes on.

Certain tasks may be better performed by outsourcing to other providers, while other needs should clearly be handled by internal staff members. Successful businesses can achieve their mission by taking an analytical, yet creative, approach to achieving their goals. The key is to maximize flexibility and efficiency.

Here are the six essential steps for creating an organizational resource strategy for your business:

1. Do an inventory of the work needed to be done. Analyze your business plans, both strategic and operational. What are the major goals and deliverables you need to achieve in the next six to 12 months? Make sure that you document all the work needed for the business, including the infrastructure or support tasks.

2. One way to judge the completeness of your inventory is to match it against calendars and planners. Are there team meetings or project meetings on calendars but not on plans? Sadly, many organizations do not update their planning documents when new projects crop up mid-year. Matching plans against how staff are actually spending their time is a great way to catch new work not included in the original plan.

3. List all people you are using to support the work. Be sure to include any nontraditional staff you may be using, such as volunteers, interns, vendors, and consultants.

4. Step back and take a good look at the match of work to people. Answer the following questions:

  • Do I have the right people doing the right work? Have I maximized the match between capability, expertise, and task?
  • Are there any redundancies? In our fast-paced, reactionary business climate where assignments are often made quickly, it is not uncommon to find two or more people tackling the same problem or issue.
  • Are there gaps? Work not being done? Can the work be reassigned to existing resources, or do you need new talent, expertise? If the work is short-term or temporary in nature, you may be best served hiring outside help like consultants or contractors. If the work is a permanent part of your operational plan, you should consider a permanent hire.

5. Use your inventory and analysis of the gaps as a guide to seeking the right person for the job. When you interview, you will be able to stay focused on the outcomes and deliverables you are expecting of the applicant and not be distracted by personality, background, or other factors. Your fundamental question will always be: Can they do the work? If the answer is yes, then put them in place. If not, and you’ll have no opportunity to teach or mentor them in the role, then keep looking.

6. Now, you are ready. Go ahead and read all those books and articles on effective interviewing. You’ve done your homework, you have your organizational resource strategy, and you have determined the best source for the talent you need. By focusing on the work, task, and outcomes, you can ensure that you will be shopping for the right solution to your staffing needs.