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HR 101 – Don’t Hire in Desperation

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Please note that this applies to South African Labour and Best Practice Requirements

Dr. John Demartini says “Don’t hire in desperation, hire in inspiration.”

As usual wise words indeed!

Let’s bring out the protagonists.

Dave has recently started a small events business and he is overwhelmed with the response to his marketing drive and the bookings are coming in fast and furious.

Since he is running several events in the next few weeks and he has several more events in the pipeline, he is finding it extremely difficult to not only get all the suppliers sorted, in terms of what is required to facilitate the events, but also do all the admin in terms of replying to the delegates and raising their invoices etc.

He is in desperate need of some assistance and he knows that he needs it sooner rather than later.

So Dave gets onto Facebook and Twitter and looks for staff. “And so it starts!” Dave is now also inundated with CV’s and e-mails begging for work.

Unfortunately in his desperate attempt to hire someone fast, Dave has not only not been clear on what the position is, but he is not really clear on what he wants the person to do, so there is no job spec and therefore no job description.

The result of course is that a) he hired the completely wrong person and b) he was unwilling to give up what he considered the ‘important’ stuff because he was a control freak.

All in all a disastrous situation that ended up in the CCMA and with huge fees for Labour Consultants as well as settlement fees to the now ‘ex’ employee.

The greatest cost of course was to Dave himself, in terms of the time lost in dealing with all of the drama and the loss of revenue that was lost as a direct result of the inefficiencies and loss of clients.

Dave would have had a far better experience if he had done the following.

1. Firstly be clear on what it was that he wanted the applicants to do and be sure that he was willing to ‘give up’ the control of those items.

2. Made a list of the duties that he would be giving up – this would have become the ‘job spec’ for the position available.

3. Made sure that he had a very simple, easy to read, step-by-step procedure for each of the tasks that he wanted the employee to perform. Dave should also have made sure that there was an easy check list for each process so that the employee could ‘tick off’ each step as they went along, to ensure that they did not forget to do an important task or leave out any steps. Dave should also have done the checklists, not only as a daily reminder, but also weekly, monthly etc., to ensure that everything got done when it was supposed to.

4. When interviewing the prospective staff member, Dave should have ensured that they met the minimum requirements of that job spec, unless of course he had the time and the inclination to train them. In this instance Dave had neither.

5. Once Dave had found what he thought was the perfect staff member, Dave should have ensured that there was a 3month probation clause in the contract. Dave should have ensured that the staff member understood exactly what the requirements of the job was and then ensured that they were followed.

6. Dave should have ensured that the staff member was trained on a ‘step-by-step’ basis on what he wanted done and then he should have checked frequently and made the relevant adjustments when and where they were required. Dave should have documented what he had taught the employee, as well as any adjustment that had taken place and the employee should have signed for each of these to evidence that they did, in fact, understand what it was that was required and that they had in fact been trained. This would have been Dave’s evidence when there was a need to discipline the staff member or if he decided that they were not capable of doing the work and that they would therefore be dismissed.

Facilitating the process of hiring someone from the very beginning, sets it up in such a way that it becomes sustainable. It might look like it is a great deal of admin and bother, but believe you me, it will save you a great deal of time, money and angst in the long run.

Clarity here is of the utmost importance! Be clear about what you want, plan how you want it done, action it, measure it, adjust and repeat. This is the simplistic recipe for success.