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Future Hiring Needs: Are You Prepared?

December 12th, 2014

Your hiring needs for this month are covered. You’re steadily on track to replace every departing employee and you’re bringing in new recruits in perfect pace with your expanding business. You have not a single pair of hands beyond what you need, and as soon as Sally retires and Steve says goodbye to care for his growing family, you’ll have new employees already lined up to take over their desks.

So this day, week, and month are locked down and accounted for. But what about next year? What will you do when Steve’s replacement starts gunning for a promotion to the next level? If you can’t accommodate her, what will you do when she leaves in search of a company that can? What will you do if your new product line starts selling beyond expectations and you need to hire more staff to keep up with a flood of orders? And will happen when your new orders suddenly dry up and you need to contract your workforce back to affordable levels?

The answer, as always, lies in planning ahead. Instead of taking a lean, just-in-time approach to the staffing process, try to use all the data at your disposal to determine what your staffing needs will look like in one, three, and five years.

Build a Pipeline

You may not have a crystal ball that can tell you when your employees might leave the company, but you can certainly make educated guessed about promotion readiness. When your top executives leave or retire, have someone in mind who you can groom and prepare for the role. Have others in mind to replace those, and so on down to the entry level. The harder you work to cultivate and retain the links in this chain, the more closely reality will adhere to your expectations.

Hire Contingency Teams

Consider hiring contingency, temporary, independent, and part time staff for roles with an uncertain future. If you don’t know how long an expansion will last, or how a new product will be received by the marketplace, limit your risks and control your workforce growth. That way you won’t have to make promises or take on full time employees that you can’t keep. Contingency staffing can also help you ensure a personality and cultural match before you make a long term commitment.

For more information about staff development, hiring, pipeline building, and long term planning, contact the experts at Merritt.


Networking: It’s Easier Then You Think

October 24th, 2014

You’ve been working steadily for several years now, or maybe you’ve been making your way through a few years of college course work. You’ve been applying yourself to daily tasks all week long and then socializing on the weekends with no particular need to merge these two activities and no desire to force an overlap between your social life and your professional ambitions.

But now all of that is about to change. Soon, you’ll be leaving your current routines behind and facing the job market…and that means you’ll need to start the process of “professional networking”, a form of social career-building that can inspire anxiety even among extroverted and outgoing job seekers. But don’t panic just yet. There are plenty of ways to keep this process natural, organic, genuine, and even easy. Try the moves below.

Keep doing what you’re doing. Just do it better.

Carry on your normal mode of socializing…just dial up your level of effort and pay more attention to the details of other people’s lives. Work harder to remember names when you’re introduced. Don’t walk away from someone at a party just because their story doesn’t interest you. Listen harder, remember more, and actively engage with those who may not seem to have much in common with you at first. If you reach out and listen, you’ll learn more about the world outside of yourself. You’ll also make a better impression on those you meet.

Ask the right questions.

Ask people where they’re from. Ask them what they do. Ask them how they feel and what they think about various topics relevant to the moment. But most of all, ask people about their experience with the kinds of things that can support your own career growth. If they can help you in any way, or if they know someone who can, they won’t necessarily volunteer this information without prompting.

Offer favors before you ask for them.

If you listen when people talk, you’ll catch valuable information about the things they need and want. If you can provide any of these things, you’ll place yourself in good standing later when the tables are turned.

Be brave.

When the time comes to ask for help instead of offering it, step up to the plate. This can be very difficult, and we’ve all felt a moment of hesitation when requesting a favor from someone we just met, or a long-lost contact, who may respond with a blank stare. But reach out anyway. Most of the time, this feels far more awkward from our own position that it does on the receiving end.

For more on how to build your network in a way that is both effective and genuine, reach out to the staffing and career-building experts at Merritt.

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