It’s a part-time approach to a full-time job.
Forest fires are bad news if you’re a tree. Unless you’re among the species of pines—like the jack pine—that actually rely on forest fires to reproduce. The jack pine produces resin-filled cones that protect seeds until a fire melts that resin. The cone opens and the seeds are free to spread out.
Unexpected employee departures are bad news for an organization, especially if it’s a key position. The consequences of unplanned open positions can have serious negative impacts that will spread like a wildfire throughout a company. There are two ways a human resources department can deal with this. Reactive hiring, where a quick replacement has the capacity to cause even more problems. Or, like the jack pine, the seemingly destructive situation is simply a cue for careful, preplanned action.
The danger of reactive hiring
Without constant talent recruitment efforts, a sudden key position that has to be filled will cause you to take as many shortcuts as you can. Or, you’ll turn to recruitment consultants and expect them to have an army of perfectly suited candidates waiting to be called in for an interview.
Highly talented people are seldom just waiting around. They’re gainfully employed. Neither you nor a recruitment consultant will likely be able to find a quick replacement that matches or exceeds the caliber of your recently departed employee.
So, there you are in a pickle. Your HR staff is focused on employee retention—not to mention all of the administrative elements—and you’ve got a big fire to put out.
Make yourself fireproof.
Successful organizations don’t wait for unexpected job openings and react. They plan for job openings and prepare. They take a strategic and forward-thinking approach to hiring that treats possibilities with the same importance as unpredictable realities.
They know that recruitment efforts aren’t like a light switch. It’s a constant effort, and one that has become even more difficult as job skills and expertise increase in specificity. It also isn’t something that’s contained to certain areas of an organization. Key positions are held by employees at all levels—from the call center to the C-Suite.
Audit your entire organization
Moving away from the reactive approach to hiring requires you to look at every position in your organization. Asses each for its strategic value, as well as its tactical value.
Every company wants to treat employees equally, but from the standpoint of jeopardy, not all positions are equally important. Many positions in a company are there to implement and execute. A smaller group is charged vision, insight, or creativity.
While strategy and tactics are both important for innovation and growth, a company will quickly stumble if key tactical employee positions go unfilled. Your long-term recruitment efforts should focus on cultivating candidates who would be right for these positions.
It’s not as simple as keeping a resume database. You’re looking for candidates who fit your company culture. When they execute, it needs to be aligned with your organization’s values and principles. That’s even more important if it’s a position that’s been deemed as strategic.
Supply and demand
The jack pine increases its output of pine cones during extended periods of dry weather, as the potential of a forest fire increases. Successful organizations make it their business to know which job categories have fewer candidates than the overall demand. They focus their acquisition efforts on these areas.
Assess the supply. Prepare for the demand. It puts you ahead of your reactionary competition.