Employment -- The ‘Other’ Marriage

Michele Warg
Posted by in Human Resources

Recruiting, and ultimately hiring, an employee for a small company is like getting married all over again! You’re practically living with this person for more hours each day than you probably spend with your spouse. Do you spend the time and energy developing the relationship necessary to determine if this is a good “fit”? Or, do you think you can just “divorce” the candidate if it doesn’t work out? Beware, getting out of an employment relationship can be costly!

“Like all successful ventures, the employment relationship begins with planning,” states Deanne Ferguson, president of F.O.C.U.S. Management Group, and outsourced human resource department located in Eagan, Minnesota “If you can’t define the goal before you begin, how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Without a plan, the probability is greater that the wrong person will be hired; a poor selection decision may lead to a firing decision later. Many months are wasted, many dollars are spent, and the frustration makes it even more difficult for management to continue the search.”

According to Ferguson, there are three basic rules of employment planning:

1. Define the expected job performance as specifically and completely as possible before you start looking for candidates. Would you start a trip without first mapping your course?

2. Look for the key factors that lead to successful job performance in all job candidates, i.e. years of experience, level of education, motivation and technical skills.

3. Devote sufficient time to the process. If you don’t plan and you hurry towards an artificial deadline, you can find yourself in the firing process very quickly. “Warm bodies” hiring can buy you some major problems in the future.

Given these three basic rules, Ferguson further defines the employee selection decision as an eight-step process:

1. Define expected performance. Do you have an accurate job description?

2. Identify key factors. Do you know what the qualified person’s background will include?

3. Generate candidates for the position. Do you know where to recruit?

4. Collect key factor information about each candidate. Are you a skilled interviewer?

5. Evaluate candidates in terms of key factors. Can you separate personality from the skills?

6. Select the most qualified candidate. Are you able to make an objective selection?

7. Check references thoroughly before extending an offer. Do you check all references?

8. Extend an offer of employment in writing. Do you have a formal offer letter?

Although there is not a “normal” turnover rate for all companies, Business & Legal Reports, Inc. published a report in June of 1995 which estimated turnover at 2.6 percent in small employers.

Turnover is not cheap! It’s not unusual to spend several thousand dollars in ads, management time and lost productivity while training. When you consider the disruption to your customer base and the image presented when turnover continues, it is definitely an important topic for discussion at your management meetings.

“The employment relationship, like a marriage, needs to be nurtured and cared for,” concludes Ferguson. “What do you think would happen if the day after your wedding you proceeded to do what you’d always done before your marriage? If you didn’t include your new spouse in your daily routine, how long do you think the marriage would last?

“It’s the same with a new employee. Do you have the person’s first week on the job arranged? Who will be there to walk him or her around and make introductions? Is a desk and phone ready? Who will review the new hire paperwork and make sure the necessary forms, such as a W-4 and I-9, are completed? This part of the hiring process is just as critical as the activity that has gone on before. You want the new person to feel part of the team, and that you are glad he or she is here. Be prepared!”

As an outsourced human resources department, F.O.C.U.S. Management Group has helped numerous small businesses with critical hiring decisions in a non-traditional manner. Companies pay for F.O.C.U.S. Management’s service only when they use it, Ferguson explains, which frees them from paying year-round overhead or the standard 25 to 35 percent placement fees. (ARA)

Courtesy of Article Resource Association; www.aracopy.com; e-mail: info@aracopy.com

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