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Staff Training and Selection

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Specialized industries tend to look inward for business models.  Let’s explore a much more generic approach to staff selection and training. Let’s start with an explanation of
the overall leadership traits and duties that are ultimately the most important factors in selecting and developing a productive staff.  Keep in mind that the staff’s attitudes and
behaviors reflect the corporate culture and its leaders.

The corporate leader, regardless of the title, must focus on doing the following:

  • Analyze the company’s staffing needs based upon projected activities, existing strengths and weaknesses, and the company vision.

  • Work with the existing staff first and ask for input.

  • Develop comprehensive job descriptions and desired personnel attributes and skills. Look for existing strengths in different areas
    within the company prior to the first interview.

  • Clearly define the salary and benefits package offered. Avoid the carrot and stick concept.

  • Communicate the overall company vision clearly to potential staff and carefully observe the reaction.

  • Set clear expectations.

Employees function best when they have a sense that they are respected enough to be capable of completing the job for which they were hired. They should be given an
appropriate amount of autonomy to make decisions and accomplish the tasks.  

Employees need to believe they have the skills necessary to do their job, and if necessary, will receive the training and direction needed to be successful.

Some questions for the leader to ask:

To repeat, the team reflects the leadership of the company.  The company leader must take the time to design and implement consistent ethical guidelines for all the
employees.  Careful planning for expansion is critical and the leader must not abdicate or delegate the selection of the team to others. So often this thoughtful planning
phase is not given careful consideration resulting in poor performance and a high turn-over rate.

Once the staff is in place, the leader must nurture and develop the personnel.   

In addition to all the above, the leader must:

  • Exude passion for the mission of the company and each project
  • Communicate information clearly and relevantly to each employee
  • Lead by example
  • Listen to employees and not necessarily give immediate response, but analyze and make wise decisions
  • Show concern for employees
  • Confer a sense of trust on employees
  • Search for hidden strengths of team members
  • Show courtesy to all (“We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” Ritz Carlton Corporation)
  • Inspire
  • Be honest with employees no matter how painful
  • Create an atmosphere conducive to creativity
  • Focus on the future
  • Strive to understand different points of view
  • Never give up
  • Believe the glass is half full
  • Always look for a win/win result
  • Avoid secrecy
  • Be willing to use collaborative skills
  • View conflicts and challenges as positive
  • Radiate enthusiasm
  • Maintain dignity and respect for all employees|
  • Encourage training and education
  • Reward individual successes
  • Value the wonderful effect of humor

Employees respond to energy and sincere enthusiasm and praise.  The leader must demonstrate these traits plus a sense of ethics. Each company has a different look and
culture, but, the basic traits, in varying degrees, will lead to successful staff selection and training.

Company leadership must clarify the purpose of the work to be performed to the employees and should present a clear explanation how what they will do fits into the total
project and the corporate mission.  Then the employee feels valued, respected, and can decide if he or she is a right fit for the company.  Several studies and focus groups
report that money is not the reason staff are unhappy in the work place and eventually leave.  They leave because they sense disrespect.

During the selection process both employer and employee can determine the viability of the relationship.  Personality assessment tools could be used in addition to close
examination of resumes and references.  A great way to improve the selection process is to present the potential employee with a case study type of challenge (perhaps
one already resolved), and see how the person reacts.  Does this reaction fit the corporate culture?  Perhaps more than one scenario could be presented, and the candidate
could respond in writing or verbally.  This will provide real insight.  On line applications do not effectively replace even the initial interview in my opinion.  When using these tools,
 they must be appropriate for the particular job description, not necessarily generic, and should be used as only a part of the hiring criteria.

During the interview process the candidate should be carefully observed and encouraged to talk.  The resulting assessment should be

  • Is this person trainable?
  • Could this person fit into the existing team?
  • Does the person possess the necessary basic skills?
  • What are the goals of the individual and are they compatible with those of the company?
  • Are the work ethics compatible?

During this process, it is important to realize that many employees change careers/jobs several times during their lifetimes. The leader must also address the age differences
inherent in today’s world, and realize that there are great differences between the Baby Boomer generation and the Y generation. Today’s entry level worker is very cognizant
of “their time,” “their space,” and their sense of work ethics. Differing values shape people’s view of situations and need to be considered.
Successful staff selection and training depends upon vision, planning and communication on the part of management. Good leadership is the key.

© 2013 by Alice Conway