Staffing isn’t as simple as ‘How do we get people into the right slots?’ There’s an art, a science, to it. To master this aspect of organizational leadership, we need three key elements when we’re seeking to hire.
Number one is Need. A lot of times, people choose staff because there used to be a position filled, and now they want to fill that vacancy. The thing is, there needs to be a legitimate need for a paid staff member. Because, if you can get a volunteer to fill that role, you may not have to pay someone. They might be able to do more in their spare time than a full-time staffer.
So, you’ve got to start by saying, ‘Do we have a need? Is it a legit need? Is it yesterday’s need, or tomorrow’s need? Who can fill that need? Can a recruited volunteer do the job as well as somebody who’s paid?’
The second element is a Preferred Profile. You’ve got to know what kind of person is going to meet this need the best. This includes demographics, experience, education, availability, and so on. You want to write down a preferred profile. Once you have a set of criteria, your interviewees have the ability to meet (or not meet) it. We tend to start with a person—which is the worst place to start, because it’s beginning from ‘Who do we have?’ instead of ‘Who do we need?’
The third and final element is an excellent Onboarding Process. Churches, as a whole, do not do a good job of onboarding. This goes beyond HR and policies and procedures. This is about bringing people into your culture—helping them understand your DNA: the ‘why’ behind the ‘what.’ You’ve got to introduce them to people and get their feet wet in a genuine, connected way. If you don’t onboard right, the longevity, morale, competency, and expectation will all be skewed.
In short, start with a need; create a preferred profile; and humanize your onboarding process. That will set you up for a truly effective staffing process.