A Different Way to Think About Hiring
Have you ever had to hire staff to fill an open or new position? In the last year, I had to fill three staff positions within three to four weeks of each other. All loved the organization, but each moved on for personal reasons.
As I wished them well, I had to think differently about how to recruit for these positions. While each of these jobs had specific functions, I felt ability for future flexibility was key. Like all of us, I wanted to hire a replacement quickly and obtain a candidate at least as good as the person who just left. Two factors influenced how I thought about hiring now and in the future.
First, when I take over a position of leadership and meet staff reports for the first time, I sit down with each staff member. I ask each person to bring a written job description to the meeting. We review the current organizational chart while I mentally create a new chart of what I feel it should be in the future. I ask each person to tell me how much time he or she spends doing his or her current job responsibilities in percentage terms that equal 100 percent. One person told me she only works 60 percent of her job description, while another gave me 140 percent. Few employees gave me a direct overview of their job descriptions at 100 percent.
The point is that many staff members, over time, lose direct sight of their specific job responsibilities. As a leader, you design staff roles based on return on investment. In the nonprofit area, one must evaluate productivity that brings time, talent or treasure to the organization.
Second, I recently attended an excellent session on manpower sponsored by Right Management in Indianapolis that reviewed a Manpower Employment Outlook Survey in Indiana and the United States for the fourth quarter of 2013. The survey pointed out that while there are 3.7 million jobs open at present, the majority of them cannot be filled because workers do not have the education or skills to meet changing work roles. In addition, many employees have to do more with less resources.
What is certain in the work world is uncertainty. Employers need to determine what skills employees will need in the next five to 10 years and plan accordingly for hiring now. Mobility is the new normal. Employees need to have skill "clusters" with an outcome-based approach.
Going back to my staff situation and looking at these two factors, I now look for a potential staff member with the education, experiences, skills and generalist ability to meet changing organizational needs. Like many of you, I do not have the organizational resources to hire additional staff. I look at my staff for ROI each fiscal year and determine where I can change job descriptions. In some cases, I make very proactive role changes and, in others, reactive role changes based on opportunities due to staff departures.
You may lose some staff due to proactive changes, but you must think about the institutional direction going forward. In many cases, your staff members will be excited to meet new personal challenges as they seek growth and greater responsibility in their jobs. Always note that while they are working for you, many are also thinking about their next jobs at other organizations. The work world is very dynamic and forever changing. How can you continue to redesign your organizational chart and make job description changes for maximum results?
Determine what organizational chart can bring the most success to the organization. Then, think about hiring in a different way. Many utility players in baseball play different positions. Look for staff with the background for flexibility in the future. You need people who can and are willing to take new job responsibilities in a positive way. A wonderful by-product of this action will be employee retention.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at email@example.com or 317-224-1029.