Whether you run a Fortune 500 company or a one-person operation, making the right hire for your practice plays a key role in building and sustaining a profitable and results-driven business. Certain elements go into the process of achieving that right hire.
The recruitment-and-hiring process involves, in part, identifying either a need to create a new position or a vacancy to be filled within a practice. You must also have clear and concise knowledge of what that position’s role is within the practice. Knowing what duties, tasks and responsibilities a position is to accomplish enables you to establish the knowledge, skills, abilities, licenses and certifications required of the candidate to effectively and compliantly fill the position and produce the desired outcome of the practice.
The recruitment process allows for the practice owner to align staff skill sets to initiatives, goals and planning for both the growth of the organization and the individual. The preplanning done in structuring the hiring process, proper strategizing and evaluation of the need will lead to hiring the right candidate for the position.
Once you have determined a new or replacement position is needed, an accurate and well-written job description becomes the foundation for success in the recruitment process. A thoroughly constructed job description clearly articulates and identifies duties, responsibilities and qualifications to attract the best-suited candidates.
A job description is developed based on the work to be performed, such as essential duties, tasks and responsibilities to be accomplished. It is best that job descriptions be developed and written by an individual who has experience and knowledge to do so. It is never a good idea to allow employees to construct their own or any other worker’s job description; however, obtaining frontline input will ensure accuracy of the responsibilities required.
Additionally, among other objectives, a job description is used to determine Fair Labor Standards Act classifications, such as exempt or nonexempt, and assists in establishing performance objectives. More importantly, a well-developed job description serves as documentation to help prevent or defend against discrimination complaints, because the job description provides written evidence that employment decisions are based on rational business needs. Again, these are just a few of the objectives of a well-developed job description.
Now that a need has been identified and an accurate job description written, the next step is developing a recruitment plan. This will include writing a specific job posting aimed at targeting the audience best suited for the position, as well as determining the appropriate avenue for placing it.
Many recruiting sources exist; however, attention should be devoted to only those sources that make the best sense based on the position to be filled. A partial list of recruiting sources includes, but is not limited to: internet job boards, trade or vocational schools, colleges and internship programs, print advertising, social media, job fairs, professional conferences and campus recruiting.
Of the last three steps in the recruitment-and-hiring process—reviewing all applicants, producing a short list of candidates and, ultimately, selecting a hire—the interview process is the single most important step in the selection process. The interview is the platform whereby the employer and prospective employee can learn more about each other and validate information provided by both.
Whenever possible, it is always prudent to have one other person or a panel participate in the interview process to ensure a broader and unbiased assessment of the candidate’s qualifications. If you are hiring for the position of massage therapist, the candidate should be given the opportunity to offer a 30-minute massage session to the practice owner or manager, to ensure his massage skill and style match that of the practice.
Bad hiring decisions rarely happen by accident. For a successful outcome resulting in the best candidate hired for the position, the selection process mandates a structured, well-planned process as outlined in the steps above.
Once a hiring decision has been made, a written offer of employment extended and the offer accepted, a new employee should be provided an orientation and employee handbook. These tools should be used by owners and managers in the day-to-day management of employees.
An orientation is the process of introducing new employees to the organization, their supervisors and coworkers, and their jobs. An effectively conducted orientation creates a positive impression on the new hire and reduces the possibility she will leave in the first year.
The purpose of an employee handbook is to explain a company’s major human-resources and employee policies and procedures, as well as describe any employee benefits offered. It is a document that efficiently and effectively communicates policies throughout the organization, regardless of size, and helps ensure office policies and procedures comply with employment laws.
The employee handbook establishes how the practice adapts to changes in the work environment and employment law, and explains such policies as the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993; the Americans with Disabilities Act; diversity issues; sexual harassment laws; and employee health concerns such as repetitive stress injuries and secondhand smoke.
An employee handbook also helps protect an organization from lawsuits, such as wrongful termination claims, by establishing a code of conduct for employees and other guidelines applicable to employee terminations.
It is worth noting job descriptions and employee handbooks are living documents that can—and should—be evaluated as your practice grows or changes. Your employee handbook should reflect changes in employment laws at the federal, state and local levels.
Effective training programs are based on a thorough needs assessment and designed to meet the objectives of that assessment. Training content will depend on the specific needs of the employee(s).
When conducting a needs assessment, determine the types of training that best suit your organizational needs. An evaluation upon completion of any and all training programs is essential to the success of the employee performing her duties effectively and to the employer’s expectations.
After the hire has been made, orientation conducted, employee handbook distributed and training completed, it then becomes critical for owners and members of the management team to become and remain engaged and observant of employees in the workplace as they perform their jobs.
When it comes to managing a workforce, there are three areas to focus on: performance, which covers the employee performing all duties assigned to meet expectations; time and attendance records, which include punctuality and attendance of the employee; and attitude—which can be subjective, so tread with caution where this type of behavior is observed.
More often than not, an employer will begin to notice deficiencies in performance or time and attendance before attitude, but not always. Engagement is critical and should be at the forefront of any person who is in the position of managing employees.
As you get to know your employees, become cognizant of changes in patterns where their performance, time and attendance, or attitude in the workplace occur, and address them immediately, either verbally or in writing. Always document this matter. Acting sooner rather than later lets the employee know you care and are committed to your practice, clients and employees, and demonstrates she will be held accountable for her behavior.
Performance evaluations conducted at predetermined intervals: 30, 60 or 90 days; quarterly; annually; or with whatever frequency the practice chooses, are another management tool that allows a form of communication between employer and employee.
A performance evaluation serves as a tool to convey performance and job-related information. It delineates how the employee performs in the position, what areas are to be improved upon or where training is needed, and also relays areas where the employee has excelled or gone above and beyond the level of expectation. Contrary to what most people believe, compensation does not have to be tied to a performance evaluation.
How to Hire Top Talent
There are vast amounts of tools, best practices, information, materials and laws that must be regarded when undertaking the task of hiring. Here, basic fundamentals along with premises for each have been addressed to the degree that time and space allow.
To ensure a greater degree of certainty, validate the knowledge, skills, abilities, ethics, professionalism, licensures or certifications of any employee hired; follow best hiring practices; have accurate job descriptions; maintain a thorough and compliant employee handbook; and provide appropriate training. These best practices will enable a massage-practice owner to attract and retain top talent.
About the Author
Doreen E. Dennis, P.H.R. (Professional in Human Resources), works as a human-resources and safety consultant for Avitus Group, which provides payroll, human resources and employee-management consulting from its operations center in Billings, Montana. Prior to working for Avitus Group, Dennis worked as a human-resources generalist and benefits specialist for the Eddie Bauer Corporation, a worldwide retailer, in its corporate office in Redmond, Washington.