Organizations have a human resources department or someone who is responsible for the human resources function. Too often, this area of the organization is not given the important focus it should have. After all, having a skilled and productive group of humans is very important if the organization is to succeed.
Sometimes, when a position becomes vacant, the recruitment effort will be expedited in order to fill the position. Unfortunately, there are managers who would rather have a “warm body” in the position rather than nobody at all!
Human resource development in an organization needs to be thought of in terms of a continuum. The stages of the continuum include:
– Recruitment and Hiring
– Orientation and Initial Development
– Performance Management including Coaching and Counseling
– Promotion and Advancement
– Termination and the Exit Interview
Let us look at each of these stages in more detail:
Recruitment and Hiring
The basis of any recruitment effort ought to be a performance based job description. In as much detail as possible, what are the critical skills and experience needed to do the job? With a performance based job description in hand, the questions asked in the interview become job related.
If I am hiring someone to mow the lawn, I may ask “when you mow the lawn do you mow it horizontally and vertically, or diagonally?” If the job description says to mow it diagonally, I want to know this person’s experience with mowing lawn diagonally, if any. This is a far more important question to ask in the interview than “what would you like to be doing five years from now?”
By using a performance based interview, you can create a rating system that relates to the amount of experience the candidate has in relation to each of the performance questions asked. You also avoid asking questions that may be illegal (depending on your country) as: “What are your religious beliefs?”
Orientation and Initial Development
Once hired, the organization will want to get the person up to speed in doing the job as quickly as possible. There may be a formal orientation regarding policies and procedures, etc., and then actual introduction to the job where the manager or a skilled member may help the individual hired learn the job and performance standards to be met. As skilled as the person hired may be, it will take some time to get up to speed on the job. The amount of time will be related to the details and complexity of the job.
There should be no surprises. All facets of the job should be presented together with the specific and measurable performance standards. “Mowing an average of 500 square feet of lawn, per hour,” is much more specific than just “Mow the lawn.”
Performance Management including Coaching and Consulting
The supervisor or manager is responsible to coach and counsel the working member reporting to him or her. What parts of the job are being completed satisfactorily? What areas need improvement? How does the working member get along with those he or she is working with? What problems or difficulties are they facing in their work?
Working members will be more productive when they realize leadership is giving them the support they need. This includes job skill development, personal understanding and support and providing the necessary supplies and equipment needed to do the job.
Promotion and Advancement
Sometimes, organizations will promote from within. Other times they may favor recruiting from the outside, as a “fresh outlook” is needed in a job area. Nevertheless, the human resources effort ought to include working with members in exploring what other talents they can develop and what other skills they have that could be used in other positions in the organization.
“Succession Planning” is a human resources effort that can pay big dividends. When the organization has members who are prepared to step up when vacancies occur, or when expansion is indicated, it is ready to keep operations flowing productively.
Providing access to training and education benefits is another positive part of the developmental continuum, when the organization provides them. The working members will realize the organization has their interests at heart by providing opportunities for advancement and development.
Termination and the Exit Interview
The practice of always conducting an exit interview when someone leaves a job is very important. The exit interview should be conducted whether someone is being promoted to another job within the organization or leaving the organization. Properly done, the exit interview provides information on what can be done to improve the job and what can be improved to provide the support to do the job effectively.
When you apply each of the stages of the continuum for human resource development, you have a mechanism in place that not only helps the organization recruit and hire effectively, but also supports the working members once they become part of the organization. Having a continuum for human resource development sends a message that the organization cares about its members. By doing so, the organization reaps the benefits of a well developed and productive workforce.