Tactics to Find and Keep the Best Employees
By Maryann OConnell
During flush economic times, as well as those that challenge even the most resilient nonprofit organizations, a sound recruiting game plan is a priority for building a winning team.
Hiring mistakes not only lead to frustration for everyone involved, but they can also prove to be a costly and wasteful expense for businesses.
There are several steps nonprofits can take to help avoid costly blunders and recruit the right employee.
Conduct a Needs Analysis
Before setting appointments with potential candidates, management should determine their reasons for hiring. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Are you properly utilizing the skills and talents of your current employees?
- Can your business growth support a new employee?
- What are the jobs essential functions and key performance criteria?
Costs associated with hiring also should be determined and include factors such as recruitment expenses, wages, and training.
Devise a Recruitment Strategy
Before you begin recruiting, it is important to implement the basic elements of a successful recruitment strategy:
Create an Employee Orientation Program
- Define the organization. Communicating who and what you are as a nonprofit will help attract the right kind of employees. Organizations that offer a culture characterized by innovation, diversity and the potential to advance are more likely to attract the best employees.
- Define the role. Know the future employees role and how it will relate to the whole organization. Just as important, consider what the role is not.
Create a thorough job description that clearly outlines the details of the position, including the job title, tasks, expectations, goals, skills and education requirements, and working conditions. It also needs to be well written since it may serve as a first impression of the organization to potential candidates. Ensure that the information is straightforward and simply communicated.
A job description is not only a critical component to the recruiting process; it can also serve as an important legal document and compensation tool.
- Develop a marketing campaign. When budgets are tight, some nonprofits are tempted to turn to resources that do not always produce the best results. While word of mouth can be helpful, it can also put the executive director or board in a potentially uncomfortable situation that could lead to hiring out of obligation.
To avoid this, nonprofits should consider all recruiting options, including re-recruiting; employee referrals; job fairs at colleges, universities and technical schools; the Internet (e.g., websites with job banks); and traditional networking opportunities, such as industry events.
- Develop the selection process. Once you have identified a pool of prospective employees, a systematic, detailed selection process will help narrow the field and find the right person for the job. Determine in advance the questions that will be asked of job candidates, and ask the same questions of each interviewee. Avoid bias and stereotyping of a candidate based on physical appearance or other factors. Remember that certain questions are off limits, including those relating to a candidates age, marital status, or ethnicity. If the conversation gets off track, steer the focus back to the basic requirements of the job.
- Administer background checks. Once you have selected a candidate, be sure to conduct a thorough background check. It is a costly mistake to assume people are providing honest information on their resume or during an interview.
According to a 2008 CareerBuilder.com survey, nearly half of the hiring managers reported they caught a candidate lying on his or her resume. Background checks are vital and cost-effective measures that can help protect the organization and its employees. This includes obtaining information on a job candidates work history, possible criminal record, and personal references.
It is essential to realize that the recruiting process does not simply end when an employee accepts a job at your organization. An employee orientation program is an important component of the process, to make sure new employees feel valued and welcomed from the moment they accept the position. Management should go the extra mile to reaffirm the employees decision to join the organization.
Whether an organization has 10 employees or hundreds, a highly motivating employee orientation (onboarding) program can provide the support and tools necessary to help employees better adapt to the organization and new job.
Among the many benefits of a new employee orientation program are the opportunity to demonstrate the organizations commitment, motivate employees, reduce turnover, communicate company policies, fulfill paperwork requirements, and improve productivity.
When you take a closer look at thriving organizations, you will find they typically devote considerable time and resources to programs that help employees succeed. These companies understand the benefits of orienting employees from the start. They adapt to the needs of the employees and equip them with valuable resources.
Good hiring practices help save time and money, and prevent unnecessary frustration. A well thought out recruitment and employee orientation program can help ensure that your employees are not only well qualified for the job, but are truly the best match for your organization.
Maryann OConnell is a team manager in the Boston office of Insperity, a human resource service that provides administrative relief and company benefits to small and medium-sized businesses. Call her at 800-465-3800.