Key Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the value of developing sound human resources systems when striving for increased staff efficiency and productivity.
  • Recognise that hiring the wrong person can potentially harm your business in terms of lost productivity, income, clients and valuable employees.
  • Use our guide to implement a hiring strategy in your business.
  • Learn about the importance of such aspects of the hiring process as job specification, design and description, performance measurements, remuneration and rewards, and the recruitment, orientation and review processes.


Often when a small business starts to grow, people are hired without too much thought given to the exact nature of the work that they are going to do. It can often be a matter of simply needing to get more hands on deck. And often jobs evolve as the company starts to grow and the number of employees and scope of duties increase. The sooner a business can build good human resource practices into their recruitment process, the better as this will ensure higher levels of staff efficiency and productivity.

When looking to expand your team, there are some key areas that need to be considered before starting the hiring process. When you look through the list below, you may think “I don’t have time for this! I just need to get someone in here to help!” We understand, but we can guarantee that a little extra time spent in making the right hiring choice now, will save you many more hours in the future. Even when you hire the right person, there is a significant cost to the business; not just in the additional wages but also in the downtime for training, lost productivity of other team members during orientation and potentially lost income until the person reaches full productivity. However, if you hire the wrong person, this can cost businesses much more in lost productivity, potential loss of income and sometimes the loss of clients or good employees – and it puts you back at square one.

Work through this list to ensure that your business is well prepared to make the best choices when hiring staff:

Job specification  

This is one of the most important considerations for any business, particularly a small business, where employing one extra person adds significantly to the overheads. By thinking carefully about what needs to be done, as well as what skills and knowledge the person requires, you will make the best possible decision. You want to avoid situations where the person was the wrong choice because you did not really know what the right choice was.

Job design 

By looking at the design of each job, you not only ensure that jobs are done efficiently, but also that employee motivation and engagement are maximised, which in turn improves productivity and profitability.

Performance measures

It is important for employees to be given feedback on how they are performing. This feedback not only gives positive reinforcement for a job well done, but also identifies areas of improvement and development. It is essential to be clear on what you are going to measure and to consider how it impacts on the overall goals of the business. Too often we see clients measuring activities that do not actually impact the business or its results, and so employees focus their efforts on the wrong areas.

Remuneration and rewards

To be competitive as an employer, you need to consider what you have to offer. It is imperative to be up to date with industry standards and understand what your competitors might be paying. However, it is proven that employee engagement is linked to much more than just financial rewards. It is important to think about what your business can offer other than just financial rewards, including benefits such as training, recognition, facilities and community engagement.

Job description

A well-written and detailed job description gives the employee clear guidelines on your expectations and what is required in the role. These should be available during the hiring process, so that there are no doubts about what tasks need to be performed and what skills and knowledge are essential for the role. The job description can be used as a tool to measure performance once employment has commenced.

Recruitment process

A well-thought-out recruitment process that is followed every time you employ a new person, will assist in ensuring that hiring decisions are made strategically rather than emotionally. Too often, employers miss steps in the process in rushed employment decisions, leading to poor hiring decisions. The process should include an attraction strategy, a selection and interview process, testing if applicable and reference/qualification checking and verification.

Orientation process

An orientation strategy needs to be designed and implemented to give the employee the maximum possible chance of succeeding in their new role. This is more than filling out paperwork and showing the new person where they sit and where the bathrooms are. This strategy will minimise the time it takes for them to fully settle, allowing for a higher level of productivity and a greater chance of long-term employment.

Review process

Research shows that many employees feel that they are given immediate feedback when things go wrong but rarely hear when things go right. It is essential to offer employees feedback  to ensure they are acknowledged in the areas in which they perform well and are given the opportunity to improve in those where they don’t perform well. A structured review process gives employees an opportunity to give feedback to the business in regard to their goals and what they need in order to perform at a higher standard.

In this article we have given you a brief overview of each of the key areas you need to consider before employing a new person. You will find learning articles in this section of the website for each of these areas, which will help you to implement an effective hiring strategy in your business.

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