group waiting in line for job

Staffing Effectively: How To Create An Effective Staffing Plan

Why is Staffing Effectively Important?

1. Having a talented team all pulling together in one direction accomplishes great things.
2. Anything less than that is inefficient and ineffective.
3. Having people with the necessary variety of skills and talents will conquer today’s job and tackle tomorrow’s when the time comes.
4. Your organization needs cariety because no single profile or person is going to have it all.

Step 1: Identify Problems With Your Current Staffing Plan (If You Have One)

The first place to start when developing your plan is to identify contributors to ineffective staffing. It is impossible to improve without an honest assessment of where your hiring strategy falls short. Below are our top five problems when it comes to staffing effectively:

  • Does not assemble skilled staff, whether that be from inside or outside the organization. Are you hiring the first person that applies? Hiring friends or family because they need work? Perhaps you’re grabbing kids straight out of college, due to financial reasons, for positions that really require at least 1-2 years of work experience. There’s a variety of valid reasons for hiring the wrong person for the job. If you found that your recruits needed more training for lacked the necessary skills, think back to the very beginning of the hiring process and how they came to your attention.
  • Uses inappropriate criteria and standards to judge candidates. How are determining the rubric on which future hires are judged? Do you have an established and proven process?
  • Selects people too much like him/herself. You’ve done a good job, so obviously you need more people on your team like yourself right? Not so much. If every candidate is a clone of yourself, then it’s likely for your team to only be skilled in a few areas.
  • Is not a good judge of people. Being able to judge someone personally versus professionally is tricky, and one does not translate to the other. It’s very possible that you may have passed over a great hire because your final decision between two candidates was based on personal criteria instead of professional.
  • Is consistently wrong on estimates of what others may do or become. This can be especially prevalent in new managers. Often times we assume that our new hires can take the same initiative, feel comfortable making the same kind of decisions, or demonstrate the problem-solving abilities we once displayed.

Step 2: Identify the Contributing Factors of Effective Staffing

Now that you’ve taken a good, hard look at the issues that cause problems when trying to staff effectively, it’s time to acknowledge the hiring practices you’re doing right. This is also the time to educate oneself on the advantages of effective staffing, so that you can include any missing from your current staffing plan.

  • Hires for diversity and a balance of skills. High performing teams that are successful in the long term often have members with diverse skill sets. Bringing expertise to different areas will help solve problems faster and improve quality.
  • Describes people in a textured manner. Someone who is a good judge of character is often able to see, describe, and assess candidates in detail.
  • Uses a broad set of criteria when staffing. Setting narrow criteria for your selection will weed out candidates that may be a great fit. It also encourages hiring someone for the moment and may not account for what that person will need to do in the long term.
  • Has an objective track record better than most on selections. If someone in your organization has a great track record for hiring top talent, it’s likely they excel in many of these areas, or they may have aced the criteria and assessment process needed to hire the right people.
  • Takes his or her time to find the right person. Being too hasty to fill a position can lead to hiring the wrong person. Time constraints and an immediate need for help are hard to ignore, but your team and results are going to flourish if you can take the time necessary to vet candidates properly.

Step 3: Fix the Staffing Issues Identified

  • Need a process? Use an established and proven process for sizing up people to avoid being negatively surprised by new hires.
  • Going with your gut? Use proven interview techniques. One way to start is to read a book on interviewing techniques and successful practices. If possible, have others interview the candidates as well using standard competency rating scales and seek their counsel.
  • Not sure what you’re looking for? Define the skills that are required for success. Ask HR or other bosses from similar departments for help. What do they look for in a new hire?
  • Shortsighted? Make sure your success profile takes a long-term view. If your people choices only work out in the short term, hire people who are eager to learn new skills.
  • Hesitant to take action? Address people problems promptly. If you’ve inherited a team and some of the people are just not up to standard, pull the trigger sooner or later. Or, you’ll have more work for you and the rest of the team.
  • Impatient? Give yourself a choice of candidates. If you tend to take the first acceptable or near acceptable candidate that comes along, try to wait long enough for multiple candidates and a real choice.
  • Need diversity? Avoid hiring clones. If you tend to hire too much in your own image, the team may be skilled in only a few areas.
  • Ready to learn the best practices? Study high-performing teams. What does the talent look like? Is there diversity? What is their hiring process?
  • Not challenged? Stretch yourself and your team. Your team should spend 20% of its time working outside of comfort zone.
  • Trouble saying no? Stick to your criteria for candidates. If you’re hesitant to reject internal candidates or go against higher ups, be sure to have clear criteria to help you take a stand.

If you’re like us here at Acquirent and are constantly looking to improve your professional skills, pick up Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger’s book, “FYI For Your Improvement: A Guide for Development and Coaching.”

Heather Appleman
Senior Marketing Manager
Acquirent, LLC.