Monday, March 12, 2012


After taking a long, hard look at the state of your business, you decide to expand by hiring additional employees. But what do you have to take into account and do when adding a new position and a new hire?
The first, and probably most important thing to do, is to create a comprehensive, clearly written job description that includes these factors:

   The major and related duties, responsibilities and tasks the employee must perform
   The expected standards for job performance
   The reporting relationships--the people or job title to whom the employee will report 
   The financial and fiscal responsibilities and spending limits--if any
   The standards of acceptable behavior
   The working conditions

Besides being used when hiring new staff, the job description is crucial in serving as a basis for evaluating employee performance. If it's too general, non-specific or doesn't adequately reflect what the employee actually does on the job, then it's a waste of your time and effort.
Once you’ve written the job description it is time to choose the best candidate for the job who will be able to carry out the description you developed.  The best advice I can give you is this: Hiring someone simply because you need an "extra body" is foolish and inevitably results in poor performance, decreased productivity and decreased morale. So be sure to hire only someone who actually fits the job description you've created. In fact, shooting for the stars by knowingly increasing your standards to hire the best possible candidate--even it takes some time to find the right person--is well worth it.
Once you've hired someone, you need to decide what you'll do to maximize the person's strengths while addressing and minimizing limitations. Here are some tips that will help you get the most of your new hire:

   Set up a process with the new hire's direct supervisor to monitor progress. Provide immediate feedback on all aspects of job performance. Don't wait for the end of the typical 90-day review period to catch the person doing something right or wrong. Immediate feedback provides the immediate opportunity for growth and improved performance.

   Create a training program, either formal or informal, depending on the size of your company. The goal of this program will be to bring the new person up to speed with the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for successful completion of their new job.  Simply because a candidate was successful in a similar job at another organization does not ensure this person will be successful in your organization.

   Develop a mentoring system: Select an individual who can serve as "Big Brother" or "Big Sister" to offer advice, especially on "how things are done around here" as well as possible landmines, such as difficult people, issues, politics, processes, norms or unwritten rules. This mentor should be a respected individual in your company, but should not be the person's direct supervisor. (Creating such a system is also a good idea for existing employees.)

By following these guidelines, you'll be able to decide whether or not to expand your workforce, create a workable job description, provide feedback to the new hire, and create training and mentoring systems to increase the potential for success.

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