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Strategic staffing for business development

The economic downturn has seen organisations and companies around the world streamlining their hiring and staffing needs.

Even more than ever, employees now need to do more than simply fulfill their duties and tasks - they need to contribute, which means companies simply cannot afford to make poor hiring choices.

Employees must have a measurable impact on a company's ability to compete through maintaining high quality standards, keeping customers happy and keeping costs under control.

Developing a strategic approach to staffing for your organisation requires detailed research and analysis. It is common among businesses and organisations looking to grow and to keep pace with rapidly changing national and global trends.

While old staffing methods focused primarily on the job specifications and finding the person who best fitted the roles and responsibilities of the position, strategic staffing looks at the tasks and responsibilities that are linked to business goals and that enhance a company's ability to compete. It means putting together a combination of human resources that are strategically aligned to the needs of the business.

During this process, a company will typically investigate what are the most pressing competitive priorities facing the company right now - those that have the most bearing on the company's ability to stay competitive. Companies will also analyse the key competitive trends in their industry.

Employees must have a measurable impact on a company’s ability to compete.

Using this information, they will try to forecast what knowledge, skills sets and attributes are required to keep pace with market trends and developments and that are aligned with achieving business goals.

Using strategic staffing, employers and human resource professionals look beyond the purely functional requirements of the various positions in the company and focus on what human resources are needed to perform those functions exceptionally well.

Hiring for the future

Competency modelling is one of the practices a company can use to support strategic development. This is the process of determining, as accurately as possible, what particular mix of skills, attributes and attitudes produce superior performance in those operational functions that have the most bearing on the company's competitive strength.

This strategic process becomes the basis not only of hiring decisions, but also of training and development strategies.

Though you may not find a candidate with a perfect match of skills, attributes and attitude, you will at least have a frame of reference from which to work. You can identify the skills gaps between the job requirements and the competencies of the candidate. This allows you to judge what investment will be required on the part of your organisation in closing this gap.

Some suggestions for what you can do to get started in developing your own competency models are:

1.Interview your ‘top' performers

For example, if you have a sales force within your company, talk to your sales staff who consistently meet or exceed sales targets. Find out what makes them successful. Try to answer the following questions:

  • What special skills do they have?
  • What behaviours do they use?
  • What type of personality traits do they share?
  • What are the common attitudes and values that they bring to their job?

2. Talk to your customers.

One of the easiest ways to find out which employees in your company can provide the basis for your competency modelling is to talk to your customers. Find out which employees your customers enjoy dealing with the most, and why.

When you have collected this information, use it to develop a description of what an employee needs to do to become a top performer, not only in their role, but in their contribution to the overall strategic development of the company.

This information is important not only for selecting and hiring the right people, but also for building and maintaining a system of successful performance management within your company.

Susanna Coghlan is director of training at AAA Cambodia. AAA provides strategic human resources consulting to companies and organisations throughout Cambodia and Southeast Asia.  For more information, email



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