Hiring staff for the long term

It pays to look to the future when employing new staff.

When hiring new staff, the first mistake many hiring managers make is failing to take a big picture view of their needs. The rush to fill open positions is understandable; work quality suffers as backlogs grow and employees feel extra pressure functioning as a skeleton crew. It’s only natural to want to swing into action.

However, addressing a staffing gap is not an isolated event with only one purpose. You’re not just trying to fill a desk when you hire, you’re also looking for someone who can handle both immediate as well as future needs, and work well with the rest of the team – that takes careful planning. Here are some things to consider when hiring staff.

Take a fresh look at the workload

No manager has a crystal ball, but you can estimate your overall staffing needs based on current and foreseeable business. What staffing needs will be ongoing? Which ones will be periodic? This can help you decide the type of employee you really need – permanent, part-time or temporary – or whether you even need to hire anyone at this time

Size up your existing staff

Think ahead about specialised expertise that may soon be required in-house. What key skills does your current team have? And more importantly, what skills are they unable to provide?

Consider temporary employees

After assessing your big-picture needs, if you’re not sure whether adding a permanent position is needed, fill the gap on a temporary basis first. This approach accomplishes two goals: first, it helps you address your workload peaks; second, you can observe firsthand these employees’ skills and performance, as well as their potential suitability for the job in a permanent role.

When resources are low and time is tight, there’s a big temptation to make a quick hire. This Band-Aid approach may sting in a few months’ time – think long term from the outset and you’re in good stead for the future.

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