Purposeful staffing has an incredible impact on your career and success. Labor is by far, one of the most expensive elements of most businesses. In a global market, the need to maintain competitive pricing is essential to the survival of any business. This is especially difficult in American based companies, due to labor wage minimums and health benefit regulations. One of the most effective ways to remain competitive with labor costs is to be purposeful in your staffing.
A website is a good analogy for the troubles often found in a company labor force. You start off with a clean framework, and then as more products and services develop, more pages are added. Every new event gets its own page. Specials and promotions are featured all along the home page and the bandwidth required to support the site, increases exponentially. As all these additions are layered on, there is often less impetus on editing or eliminating the outdated information. This leaves websites looking cluttered, confusing, and even counterproductive.
The same phenomenon is observed amongst American labor forces. Most companies begin with a skeleton crew, and as the company expands, so does the labor force. The trouble is often that staff is added when growth is required, however staff is not always reorganized or tightened as products and services are moved away from.
Inappropriate staffing can also take place when a department is overwhelmed and in response, a company will hire as many entry level positions as possible to help absorb the workload.
So how do you go about creating a purposeful and efficient crew?
- Evaluate your department
When you evaluate a department, begin with a list of the overall objectives for the team. What are the outcomes a department needs to produce in order to contribute to the overall success of the company? From there, break it down into duties. What specific actions are required in order to hit those objectives. This top level starting point allows you to truly have a purposeful staffing approach.
- Evaluate your team
When you look at your team, make a note of the positions and what specific duties they perform. Then come the tough questions. Do you have enough staff in a given position to handle the volume? Are there any miscellaneous tasks that could be annexed on to a particular position? Are there any outcomes that are not supported by duties within the team? Does it make more sense to reorganize positions and responsibilities in order to more efficiently hit goals? Could you cross train a section with less volume to help another inundated position?
What often happens as you evaluate your team is a technical review gets muddied by personality assessments. Your evaluations as part of a purposeful staffing approach need to focus first on technical skills to get the job done. By doing so you can quickly assess if a person has the right attitude and personality in relation to their effect on the team.
- Adjust the team
Once you’ve taken the time to understand a department’s needs and rearranged your staff to meet those needs as best as possible, it’s time to look at what needs are left unaddressed. From there, you can create a tailored position and duties for your upcoming recruiting campaign that will not only maximize your productivity, but also minimize your waste. You may find that the position you need filled is not four, $30k entry level positions, but rather one, $50k senior position. Or you may find when performing a purposeful staffing review that a new organizational layer, such as a supervisor or manager is required.
Part of your adjustments when performing a purposeful staffing review should also consider if the work load is seasonal or temporary. This may also lead you to consider a temporary skill set you need to fill a void.
These are critical decisions often rushed into, but could have a major impact in your own success in your career. Purposeful staffing reviews should be done twice a year. It allows you to stay on top of a changing organization as well as getting a job on your hiring plans.
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