Finding the “right” staffer in the development and building services arena who fits not only the professional qualifications, but also the “feel” and “new attitude” you are trying to create during process improvements may seem like a near impossibility. The other scenario is the new staffer that is trying so hard to fit in that they are absorbing all the bad habits of the entrenched staff and are not grasping the new development processes as fully as you would like, making the shift to the new that much more difficult. The Human Resource function is so much more than filling a position; it’s making sure you have the correct tool or resource for the job.
One of the first things to consider are job descriptions for the development services positions. Often, the HR departments of your city or county creates a job description from a canned questionnaire that was created by a 3rd party consultant. This ends up as a job description that does not fully match the job that is being filled. Start by asking for the job description and the root of that description. Go through it with a fine tooth comb considering not only what the current role is going to be, but also what the future position will morph into. You may be pleasantly surprised and end up with a higher pay classification allowing you to hire better qualified staff.
Secondly, consider the environment this person will work in. What are the most important traits you want to emulate from “excellent” staff, or what are things that are going to be important in the future of the organization. For example, it does not take a crystal ball to see that technology is rapidly changing and you must find a team member who is not only a professional in their respective field, but is also highly proficient in many other areas. In the midst of a changing business process, it’s important to look for characteristics and traits that show this potential team member can think their way out of a box. This can show up as taking voluntary or “acting” assignments during the course of their employment or it can show up as participating in various civic or professional organizations. Often these types of team members are looking to soak up as much information as possible. They don’t come along very often in the development arena, so when they do, it’s important to snatch them up as soon as possible.
Lastly, one of the most significant pieces of the staff puzzle is how well they “fit in” with the other members of the organization. You hire the best qualified person for the job who looks great on paper, but can the person get along or work well with other members of the team? Its important to remember you will hire the personality as well as the qualifications and neither change very easily.
Whatever the scenario, it’s important to remember that change happens incrementally and people move out of their comfort zones much more slowly than you would like. Help your team along by working closely with your HR department to understand what the job descriptions entail, ensure they are accurate and clearly depict what is actually being done, and help your HR department understand what work your team does. Often it’s a lack of communication and clear understanding of the importance of your department to the City’s overall success. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope with HR. In the long run, if you don’t, your position classifications will not meet your process and customer service needs.