Staffing process involved in identifying, assessing, placing, evaluating and developing individuals at work is termed as staffing.
Staffing basically involves matching jobs and individuals. It involves a number of functions such as planning, selection, training and appraisal of the individuals in the organization.
The steps involved in the process of staffing are:-
1. Manpower Planning 2. Job Analysis 3. Selection and Recruitment 4. Employment Tests and Interview 5. Placement 6. Induction and Orientation 7. Training and Development 8. Promotion 9. Performance Appraisal.
Process of Staffing: 9 Step Process – From Manpower Planning to Performance Appraisal
Process of Staffing – 7 Important Process: Manpower Planning, Job Analysis, Selection, Employment Tests and Interview, Placement, Induction, Orientation and Promotion
Process # 1. Manpower Planning:
Human resources may be defined as the quantitative and qualitative measurement of workforce required in an organisation. Planning in this context may be defined as determining the workforce requirements to achieve the objectives of the organisation. In other words, human resource planning may be defined as a process by which the management ensures the right number of people and the right kinds of people at the right place at the right time doing the right things for which they are best suited for the achievement of organisational objectives. It is the process of developing and determining objectives, policies and procedures of procurement of manpower.
In the words of Dale S. Beach, “Manpower planning is a process of determining and ensuring that the organisation will have an adequate number of qualified personnel.”
Process # 2. Job Analysis:
Job analysis is a systematic collection and compilation of data about each job in the organisation to redesign each job in such a manner so as to distinguish it from the other jobs.
Job analysis is the process of discovering and identifying the pertinent information relating to the nature of a specific job. It is the determination of the tasks which comprise the job and of the skills, knowledge, abilities and responsibilities required of the worker for successful performance of the job.
Scope of Job Analysis:
The process of job analysis is essentially one of data collection and then analysing that data. It provides the analyst with basic data pertaining to specific jobs in terms of duties, responsibilities, skills, knowledge, etc.
This data may be classified as follows:
(a) Job identification.
(b) Nature of the job.
(c) Operations involved in doing the job.
(d) Materials and equipments to be used in doing the job.
(e) Personal attributes required to do the job, e.g., education, training, physical strength, mental capabilities, etc.
(f) Relation with other jobs.
Some of the above information relates to the job while the rest is concerned with the person doing the job, i.e., the job-holder. The requirements of a job are known as Job Descriptions and the qualities demanded from the job holder are termed as Job Specifications. Thus, job description and job specification are the immediate by products of job analysis.
Process # 3. Selection:
Selection is the process of choosing the best person for a particular job. It leads to employment of workers. Selection is a negative process as it involves rejection of unsuitable candidates. More candidates are rejected than are selected. Selection involves several steps to weed out the unsuitable candidates for the job under consideration. Criteria are laid down at each stage. Those who do not fulfill these criteria are rejected.
What is Selection?
“Selection is the process of choosing from among the candidates from within the organisation or from the outside, the most suitable person for the current position or for the future position.” – Dale Yoder
“Selection is a managerial decision-making process as to predict which job applicants will be successful if hired” – S.P. Robbins
“Selection is the process of differentiating between applicants in order to identify and hire those with a greater likelihood of success in a job.” – Stoner
Significance of Selection:
The benefits of selecting right kinds of people for various jobs are as follows:
(i) Proper selection and placement of personnel go a long way towards building up a suitable workforce. It will keep the rates of absenteeism and labour turnover low.
(ii) Competent employees will show higher efficiency and enable the organisation to achieve its objectives efficiently.
(iii) The rate of industrial accidents will be considerably low if suitable employees are placed on various jobs.
(iv) When people get jobs of their taste and choice, they get higher job satisfaction. This will build up a contended workforce for the organisation.
(v) The morale of the employees who are satisfied with their jobs is often high.
Process # 4. Employment Tests and Interview:
Individuals differ with respect to physical characteristics, capacity, level of mental ability, likes and dislikes and also with respect to personality traits. The differences among the individual candidates can be analysed with the help of various psychological and trade tests. These tests can provide important information about the candidate as regards his intelligence, aptitude, interest, personality, etc.
Various types of tests available to match the characteristics of the candidates with the requirements of the jobs advertised are as follows:
1. Intelligence Tests:
An intelligence test is used to judge the mental abilities and capacity of an applicant. It measures the individual’s learning ability, i.e., ability to catch or understand instructions and also ability to make decisions. There are many verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests constructed by psychologists for different kinds of jobs.
2. Aptitude Tests:
Aptitude means the potential which an individual has for learning the skills required to do a job efficiently. Aptitude tests measure an applicant’s capacity and his potential for development. Aptitude tests are the most promising indices for predicting workers’ success.
There are two general types of aptitude tests:
(a) Cognitive Test which measures mental and intellectual aptitudes, and
(b) Motor Test which measure physical dimensions such as manual dexterity or hand-eye coordination.
3. Achievement or Proficiency Tests:
Proficiency tests are those which are designed to measure the skills already acquired by the individuals. They are also known as occupational or trade tests. They are used to test the level of knowledge and proficiency of an applicant to do a specific job.
4. Interest or Motivation Tests:
Interest tests identify patterns of interest, that is, areas in which the individual shows special concern, fascination and involvement. These tests would suggest what types of jobs may be satisfying to the employees.
5. Situational or Personality Tests:
Such tests are designed to observe how job applicants react to real life situations. Personality tests probe for the qualities of the personality as a whole, the combination of aptitude, interest and usual mood and temperament. They are concerned with discovering clues to an individual’s value system, his emotional reactions, maturity, etc. For example, a candidate for a managerial job may be given a typical problem which requires on the spot decision-making.
Importance of Employment Tests:
Employment tests have the following advantages:
(i) A test is an objective and standardized sample of certain qualities. It tends to eliminate business in selection of personnel.
(ii) Tests can identify talents of individuals which might otherwise be overlooked.
(iii) Tests reduce the costs of selection and placement because large number of applicants can be evaluated within the least possible time.
(iv) Psychological tests can measure the aptitude of candidates and predict their success.
(v) Test provide a healthy basis for evaluating applicant’s performance. They compel the interviewers to think through their evaluation more carefully.
Process # 5. Placement:
The candidates selected for appointment are to be offered specific jobs. There must be matching between the requirements of the job and the qualities of the employee concerned. Only then effective placement will take place. In practice, right placement is not an easy task. It may take a long time before a candidate is placed on the right job.
Generally, the candidate is appointed on a probation of one year or so. During this period, he is tried on different jobs. If his performance is satisfactory, he will be offered a permanent post and placed on the job for which he is most suitable. He may need some training to do the job better. Therefore, his training needs must also be identified during the probation period.
If during the probation period, an employee is not found suitable, the management may transfer him to some other job to which he may be expected to do better justice. But if the management cannot offer him a job which he can do well, it may sack him or give him time and training to improve himself to do the job better.
Process # 6. Induction and Orientation:
Induction is concerned with introducing a new employee to the organisation, its procedures, rules and regulations and the people with whom he will interact in doing his job. When a new employee joins the organisation, he must be properly introduced with his superior and fellow employees. He must also be given orientation training before he is asked to occupy a particular position.
The orientation programme is generally informal in case of small firms. It may be formal of the duration of two to four weeks in case of big organisations.
The range of information that can be covered under orientation training may be as follows:
(i) Company’s history.
(ii) Products of the company.
(iii) Company’s organisation structure.
(iv) Location of departments and employees services.
(v) Personnel policies and practices.
(vi) Employees’ activities.
(vii) Rules and regulations.
(viii) Standing orders.
(ix) Grievance procedure.
(x) Safety measures.
The benefits of induction or orientation of new employees are as follows:
(i) It builds up the new employee’s confidence in the organisation and in himself.
(ii) It gives the new entrant the information he needs, such as locations of locker rooms, cafeteria and other facilities, time to break off, leave rules, etc.
(iii) It promotes a feeling of belonging and loyalty to the organisation among newcomers.
(iv) It tries to ensure that new employees may not form false impressions regarding the place of work because first impression is the last impression.
Process # 7. Promotion:
“Promotion means the transfer of an employee to a job that pays more money or one that enjoys some preferred status.” A promotion involves reassignment of an employee to a position having higher pay, increased responsibilities, more privileges, increased benefits and greater potential. The purpose of a promotion is to provide a position which in general, is worth more to the organisation than the incumbent’s present position. According to Pigors and Myers, “Promotion is the advancement of an employee to a better job—better in terms of greater responsibilities more prestige or status, greater skill, and especially higher scale of pay or salary”.
Generally, increase in pay accompanies promotion, but it is not an essential element of promotion. If a person being promoted does not get any monetary benefit, it will be said to be a case of dry promotion.
Process of Staffing – 6 Steps: Manpower Planning, Recruitment, Selection & Placement, Induction & Orientation, Training & Development and Performance Appraisal
The process involved in identifying, assessing, placing, evaluating and developing individuals at work is termed as staffing. Staffing basically involves matching jobs and individuals. It involves a number of functions such as planning, selection, training and appraisal of the individuals in the organization.
In short, it can be said that the staffing function is concerned with the determination of manpower requirements of the organization and providing it with adequate number of competent people at all the levels.
The following sequence of steps must be followed in the staffing process:
1. Human resource or manpower planning
3. Selection & Placement
4. Induction and Orientation
5. Training and Development
6. Performance Appraisal
The very first step in staffing is to plan the manpower requirement of a concern in order to match them with the job requirements and demands.
HR planning involves:
I. Job analysis
II. Manpower Planning
I. Job Analysis:
Job analysis helps in understanding the nature of specific jobs. It is the systematic collection & recording of information concerning the purpose of the job, its major duties, knowledge, skills & abilities required to perform the job in most efficient way.
a. Job Description:
Job description implies objective listing of the job title, tasks, duties and responsibilities involved in a job.
b. Job Specification:
Job description implies objective listing of the job title, tasks, duties and responsibilities involved in a job.
c. Job Evaluation:
Job evaluation refers to rating of the jobs on the basis of their relative importance in the organisation. The importance can be reviewed on the basis of skills required, complexities & difficulties involved etc.
II. Manpower Planning:
Managers have to plan their requirement for manpower in advance. The manpower needs, thus, have to be ascertained and planned, selections made and placements done in accordance with the job requirements. It enables the organization to procure personnel with necessary skills, qualification, knowledge & work experience.
For this personnel manager has to follow the necessary steps:
a. He has to ascertain the future requirements of manpower.
b. Ascertain the present position.
c. Anticipate the manpower problems.
d. Plan for recruitment, selection, training, promotion as well as for transfers.
Once the manpower requirements are determined, the process of recruitment can be started. The applications have to be invited from candidates to apply for the given post. When applications are being invited, due care should be taken to ensure that people applying for the specific posts acquire the skills that are required for that job.
It is necessary to ascertain the job descriptions and job specifications. This enables managers to invite applications only from those candidates who possess the necessary qualification to fill in the vacant posts. This process of inviting application is referred to as recruitment.
Dalton E. McFarland has defined recruitment as “the process of attracting potential employees to the company.”
Dale S. Beach observed, “Recruitment is the development and maintenance of adequate manpower resources.” Recruitment is a positive function as it results in collection/pool of applicants in response to the vacancy advertised.
Sources of Recruitment:
The two main sources of recruitment are as under:
a. Internal sources (recruitment from within the enterprise)
b. External sources (recruitment from outside)
It refers to recruiting applicants from within the organizations. It is the process of looking for potential candidates who are internal to the organization.
Sources of Internal Recruitment:
Following can be the sources of internal recruitment:
Promotion refers to the advancement of an employee to a higher level position involving greater responsibility, better pay and higher status. Promotion may be defined as a movement to a position in which responsibilities and prestige are increased. Promotion results in higher earnings but not always.
Whether employees should be selected for promotion on the basis of seniority (i.e. length of service) or merit (i.e. ability) has been widely debated. Trade unions and employees prefer promotion by seniority while executives by and large are in favour of promotion based on performance and ability.
The term ‘transfer’ refers to the shifting of an employee from one job to another. It may be change in duties and responsibilities as well as change of pay in the event of transfer but it does not involve higher status or rank. Transfers generally are aimed at building up a more satisfactory work team and it may serve different purposes.
C. Rehiring previous employees
Advantages of internal recruitment:
i. Selection and placement is simple & economical.
ii. The skills & capabilities of the existing employees are well known to employer.
iii. It increases the morale of the employee which induces them to work better for the organisation.
iv. It promotes loyalty among the employees.
v. Internal recruitment is a time-saving process.
Disadvantages of Internal Recruitment:
i. Restricts the new person & ideas in the organisation.
ii. In case of promotion based on seniority, unsuitable candidate may get promoted & capable one may be left behind
When the organizations do not find a suitable internal candidate or do not wish to appoint people from within, they recruit people from outside the organization. When the outside candidates are encouraged and attracted towards the jobs vacant in an organisation, it is termed as an external source of recruitment.
Sources of External Recruitment:
A. Employment Exchanges:
Employment exchanges maintain a record of job seekers. The employment exchange provides a good source of manpower supply to the employers. The candidates who are in need of jobs register themselves with the employment exchange which records their basic details such as qualification, age, experience, etc. Enterprises interested in such candidates can approach these agencies.
Job vacancies can be advertised in the local or the national newspapers. Advertisement contains necessary and detailed information about the job that enables prospective candidates to do his self-screening.
C. Employment at Factory Level:
This a source of external recruitment in which the applications for vacancies are presented on bulletin boards outside the factory or at the gate. This kind of recruitment is applicable generally where factory workers are to be appointed.
D. Educational Institutions:
Educational, technical, professional institutions can be approached where students holding a Masters’ degree can apply for the jobs.
E. The trade unions work for the welfare and prosperity of the workers. Trade Unions can also offer a list of suitable candidates for enterprises to recruit from
F. Many job aspirants may visit the company and offer their services willingly. The waiting list of such applicants may be prepared and maintained by the personnel department of the enterprise to fill in the temporary or casual vacancies.
External recruitment proves to be most useful for filling up managerial positions requiring technical & professional qualification.
Disadvantages of External Recruitment:
1. More expensive.
2. Time consuming.
3. Dissatisfaction among internal employees
Difference between Internal Sources and External Sources:
1. Internal Source of recruitment means finding candidates within the organization.
2. Internal recruitment is a quick process.
3. The process of internal recruitment is cheaper.
4. Lesser need for induction training.
1. External source of recruitment means finding the candidates from outside the organization.
2. External recruitment is a lengthy process.
3. The process of external recruitment is more expensive.
4. Greater need for induction training.
Once the procedure for recruitment is followed, the next step is to select the individual who is most appropriate for the job requirement. Selection, thus, refers to appointment of a person at a particular post. “It is the process of filling the organizational position”. Selection is a negative process as it involves rejection of some candidates. The person whose job specifications best match with the job description is selected for that particular post.
Significance of Selection:
Selection is to be considered as a critical process because it involves a heavy investment of money to get right type of people and if the right type of candidates are not chosen, then it may lead to huge loss in terms of time, effort and money of the employer.
Therefore, it is necessary to adopt a suitable selection procedure by which more and more information about the applicants will be collected so that it will be helpful in decision making process.
If the employees are suitable according to the requirements of the jobs, they will show higher efficiency and productivity and thus enables an organization to achieve its organisational goals effectively.
The benefits of selecting right kind of people for various jobs are as follows:
1. Proper selection of personnel builds up a suitable workforce and reduces the rate of absenteeism and labour turnover.
2. Competent employees will show higher efficiency and productivity.
3. When people get jobs according to their choice and preference then they get higher job satisfaction and high morale.
Once the candidates are selected and he is fitted into the job, he is given the activities he has to perform and also told about his duties. Generally a new employee takes time to adjust in his job. Few questions are raised in a mind of a new employee when he/she joins an organization such as – Who are their superiors? Who are their co-workers? What is the type of organizational structure? What are the departmental goals? What is the authority responsibility structure? What are the grievance system / procedure?
This helps him knowing the organisation in a better way. In short, induction & orientation programme is done by personnel department to make the employee aware about the mission and vision of the organization, company history, products & major operation, organisation structure, functions of various departments, major policies, etc.
Many a times, an organization comes across a situation where it is seen that a person however carefully selected may not be able to fully satisfy the job requirements. Their actual performance may be lacking against the planned performance.
The need, therefore, arises to increase the skills and competence of employees to improve their current job performance so that he/she can be well aware about the desired way of functioning in an organization.
The increase in their job related skills can be brought about in two ways:
1. Training of Employees
2. Development of Employees
It is a planned effort to facilitate employee learning of job-related behaviors in order to improve employee performance. It aims at improving the performance of the employees on the current job. In other words, training is the process of enhancing the skills, capabilities and knowledge of employees for doing a particular job.
While training improves the skills of a person on the present job, development improves the skills of a person on the future jobs, i.e. it improves the ability of a person to assume jobs of higher skill, competence and responsibility. It has been defined as the “long-term training designed to increase an employee’s job effectiveness and to develop his or her ability to assume greater job responsibilities”.
It implies an educational process aimed at growth & maturity in terms of insights, attitudes, adaptability, leadership & human relations on the basis of conceptual & theoretical knowledge.
Training and development programmes are generally designed in accordance with the nature of the job, personnel concerned (operatives, supervisors, managers) and the purpose in view.
The programmes can be broadly divided into two categories:
A. On-the-Job Programmes; and
B. Off- the-Job Programmes.
On-the-job training refers to training given to trainees while they are actually performing a job. It is learning while working (learning by doing). The employees are made to work in different departments on a systematic basis to broaden their experience on various organizational jobs. The employees are trained in actual working scenario.
It is given to workers outside the job area. The employee does not learn while working on-the-job but learns in conditions which are more or less similar to the actual working conditions.
(ii) Vestibule Training:
(a) Working conditions similar to the actual conditions are created outside the place of work and the employee is made to work in those conditions.
(b) He learns the job skills in almost similar job conditions without disrupting the actual work on-the-job i.e. with separate sets of tools and equipment in a special training centre.
(iii) Internship Training:
The employee learns the job skills while working on-the-job; in addition he also attends the classroom lectures to know about the various job skills.
(a) The employee is given training while he is made to work under the guidance of a skilled trainer or co-workers.
(b) The learner performs the job under the direct guidance of a trainer.
(v) Job Rotation:
The employee is made to work on different jobs so that he can develop different skills required to do those jobs. It involves shift from one job to another job on a systematic basis.
Supervisory and managerial training programmes are mostly off-the-job programmes.
Such commonly used programmes are:
(i) Class-Room Lectures:
Under this method the speakers (guests) are arranged to talk on specific topics which may be followed by question-answer session. It is termed as participative method. To make this technique more effective the use of demonstrations, audio-visual, like charts, graphs etc. is commonly made.
It may be instructional, consultative & problem solving in nature. It offers two way communications & helps to develop real problem solving attitude.
(iii) Group Discussions:
This is a way to solve any problem by getting various ideas. Everyone is free to speak his / her own view. It enlarges a person’s thinking by giving him various dimensions on a particular topic. Here, qualities of a person like leadership, communication, persuasion are being checked.
(iv) Case Studies:
A case or situation is written explanation of real business situation, which is given to all the participants, containing few details of the situation & then is asked to solve the case. It helps to give a deep insight of the situation.
In this roles are given to few employees to play before others, the roles can be of superior, subordinate, customer etc. specific situation are kept before them which they have to demonstrate & solve.
(vi) T-Group Training:
It is aimed at improving communication skills of the managers & also their sensitivity to patiently listen to others problems & difficulties. Such kind of training is given to build up interpersonal relationship in an organisation.
(vii) Programmed Instruction:
In this, instructions are given to do a particular task.
Management development programmes may consist of:
(i) In-basket programme, programme is carried out to recognize executive potentials and develop decision-making abilities.
(ii) Management games are being undertaken to develop capabilities of decision-making in a competitive situation.
(iii) Sensitivity training aimed at developing awareness of and sensitivity to behavioural patterns of oneself and others.
(iv) Committee assignments.
(v) Simulation and role-playing.
(vi) Transactional analysis.
The following are the benefits of training:
i. Training increases the productivity and improves the efficiency of the employees.
ii. Well trained employees show both quantity and quality performance and thus helps in reduction of wastage of time, money and resources.
iii. It helps to reduce the need for constant and close supervision of workers because trained employees are self-directed.
iv. It helps to improve the job satisfaction and morale of employees resulting in improvements in their earnings, job security and career prospects.
Development benefits to the company in the following way:
i. It prevents managerial obsolescence because executives adopt latest concepts and techniques in their respective fields of specialization.
ii. Development ensures that the company is staffed with managers having requisite knowledge and skills.
iii. It ensures long-term survival and growth of the organization.
iv. It replaces old executives with younger ones, i.e. to develop a second line of competent officers for future replacement.
v. It creates teamwork.
vi. It ensures that managerial resources of the organization are properly and fully used.
It is necessary for the management to know the performance of the employees on the job because employees differ in their abilities and aptitudes. To appraise the performance of employees on a continuous basis and providing them with the necessary feedback is called as performance appraisal.
The effectiveness of staffing function needs to be ascertained by evaluating the performance of employees in terms of job requirements. Performance appraisal or employee appraisal is the systematic process of measuring and evaluating employees with respect to their performance on the jobs and their potential for development. Performance appraisal is also termed as performance evaluation, progress rating, merit rating, merit evaluation, etc.
Advantages of Performance Appraisal:
i. Performance appraisal aims at measuring the work performance of employees on a continuous basis and informing them about how well they are doing.
ii. Through performance appraisal technique, proper guidance can be given to employees.
iii. The ability of staff is recognized and they are rewarded by getting special increments.
iv. Merit rating helps the management to decide matters relating to employee transfer and promotion.
v. Performance appraisal helps the organization in better decision making and planning of manpower in order to make effective and careful use of resources.
vi. Systematic appraisals will prevent grievances and develop confidence amongst the employees.
Limitations of Performance Appraisal:
Following are the drawbacks of Performance appraisal:
i. If the factors included in the assessment are inappropriate, the result of merit rating will not be accurate.
ii. Different qualities to be rated may not be given proper weightage.
iii. The actual rating is not possible if factors are highly subjective like initiative and personality of the employees.
iv. Sometimes supervisors lack ability in assessing the staff as they are guided by their personal emotions and likes.
Process of Staffing
1. Selection and Recruitment:
Recruitment and selection concerns the supply of suitable employees. Poor recruitment and selection will lead to the employment of unsuitable people, productivity will fall and a commercial organisation will become uncompetitive. Good recruitment and selection can easily raise productivity by 10 per cent and give an organisation a competitive edge.
Good selection has four stages:
(a) Producing job descriptions
(b) Producing personnel specifications
(c) Attracting a field of candidates
(d) Choosing among candidates
In addition, good selection often involves giving applicants a realistic preview of the job.
The first stage of good selection is to define the job that needs to be done. It will be recalled that a job description details the tasks which a member of staff is required to perform.
The second stage is to consider the knowledge, skills and abilities which a person must have in order to perform those tasks in a competent way. In other words it is necessary to specify the ideal person for the job. A personnel specification can take many formats. One very basic method of producing personnel specification uses Roger’s Seven-point Plan, which groups requirements under seven headings.
On the basis of the job description essential and desirable characteristics of workers are identified. Essential characteristics are those which are central to the job and which would be difficult or expensive to develop by training. Desirable characteristics are those which are important to the job but which might be developed with appropriate training.
Great care should be taken to avoid unfairness and discrimination. For example, it would generally be unfair to include a candidate’s height in a personnel specification. Men are generally taller than women and a height requirement would differentially exclude more women than men. This would normally constitute unfair discrimination.
In a famous case in the United States it was declared illegal for a police force to demand that recruits should be taller than 1.75 m (5′ 10″) because this would exclude many women who could be competent police officers.
However, the police force was allowed to demand that recruits should be taller than 1.65 m (5’6″) since shorter officers might endanger themselves and colleagues because they would not be sufficiently tall to shoot a pistol over the top of a car (this is America!). Similarly, personnel specifications should not imply that women candidates might be unsuitable because they would be responsible for the care of children.
Once a fair personnel specification has been devised, the third stage of selection is to attract a field of applicants by advertising the vacancy. The aim should be to attract about eight credible applicants for each post. If there are fewer than eight there might not be enough to allow a good choice. If there are many more, it will be difficult to give each candidate full proper consideration.
Some ways of attracting applicants are:
(a) Internal notices and emails
(c) Private employment agencies
(d) Head hunters (executive search agencies)
(e) Advertisements in the local press, national press and professional journals
(f) Careers fairs, college visits
The choice of media will depend upon the exact situation. Many senior management jobs are advertised in the national press and professional journals. Very senior management posts will seek applicants using executive search agencies. The use of head hunters is very expensive (about 33 per cent of the first-year salary) but the service is very confidential and it is most likely to locate able people who are not actively searching for the job, because they are successful in their present job.
Whichever medium is chosen, care must be taken to ensure that the advertising is fair. Advertising a job solely in a magazine such as Playboy or GQ is likely to be unfair because, presumably, few women read these magazines. Advertising a vacancy using internal notices or by word-of-mouth of existing employees may also be discriminatory since it is less likely that minority groups will learn that a vacancy exists.
When a field of candidates has been assembled, the fourth stage of selection is to choose the best person for the job. A large number of selection methods exist. The well-known methods of selection include traditional interviews, references, application forms and CVs. Many organisations use more modern methods.
These are samples of behaviour which are highly standardised so that everyone is given precisely the same instructions and time to complete the same tasks. The answers are also evaluated in a standard way. Thus, psychometric tests are usually more objective than other methods.
Broadly speaking, two kinds of tests are used in selection:
i. Tests of mental ability and
ii. Tests of personality.
i. Mental Ability:
Mental ability is the ability to process information quickly and accurately. It is fairly stable after the age of about 18. Tests of mental ability have been used for over 100 years. They are highly reliable (a typical reliability correlation is 0.9). Scores of mental ability tests usually correlate 0.53 with future success.
In managers the correlation is slightly higher at 0.58. Mental ability is an important factor in job success because it enables people to learn the job more quickly and to respond better to changes or unusual events.
Personality is the style in which things are done. It is moderately stable after the age of about 30. Tests of personality are rather less reliable than ability tests. A typical test-retest correlation will be about 0.75. Personality tests are useful predictors of job performance and correlate about 0.4 with future job success.
Personality is less accurate than mental ability in predicting job performance because equal success can result from different styles. Furthermore, up to a point people can mould their jobs to suit their personality. Honesty tests are a particular type of personality test. They attempt to predict whether a future employee will participate in theft or other antisocial activity such as drug-taking. Honesty tests are most frequently used in retail organisations.
These are carefully worked out exercises which aim to be mini-trials of the job. For example, an applicant for the job of a carpenter would be provided with a standard piece of wood and a standard set of tools. A set time would be allowed to produce a piece of work entailing a range of joints and cuts. The exact nature of the task would be determined by a prior analysis of the joints and cuts which differentiates between good and bad carpenters.
Work samples of management jobs include:
(a) Written analysis of a business problem on the basis of a set of files.
(b) A presentation on a business topic to an audience.
(c) A group exercise which mimics a management meeting. Several candidates would participate in the same meeting and the performance of each one would be observed and evaluated by neutral judges. Group exercises need to be carefully arranged so that the groups are equal, otherwise the composition of the group can affect the performance of individual candidates.
(d) A role play- For example, a candidate is asked to study an errant employee’s file and conduct a disciplinary interview with that employee.
Work samples are among the best methods of selection and usually correlate 0.54 with subsequent job performance.
These have a more scientific basis than traditional interviews. The structure means that all candidates are asked more or less the same questions and consequently better comparisons can be made. Furthermore, structured interviews are based on an analysis of the job and only ask questions concerning work behaviour.
For example, an applicant sales representative might be asked how they would respond to the following, realistic, situation:
“Suppose that you have arranged to see an important customer. You arrive at the arranged time only to be told that the customer is busy. You wait for 30 minutes and just as you are about to leave to go to your next appointment the customer emerges from her office with the sales representative from a rival company … what would you do?”
The applicant’s answer would be compared to a carefully calibrated set of model responses and a score would be allocated. An applicant would be asked how they would respond to five or six of these situations. This particular kind of structured interview is known as a “situational” interview. If properly prepared, situational interviews can be good predictors of future job performance and can rival work samples in their accuracy.
This is a way of collecting information, usually by a questionnaire, about the course of a person’s life. Typically the data would include details of educational qualifications, hobbies, memberships and work experience. The data will then be applied to a carefully derived formula that calculates a person’s probability of being successful in a job. Credit scoring and the calculation of insurance premiums are specific varieties of biodata.
Many organisations, especially large ones, use a combination of methods. Candidates are asked to attend for a whole day when they will be asked to, say, complete tests of mental ability and personality, take part in a discussion group, write a report and participate in a situational interview. Combinations of methods such as this are usually called assessment centres.
At senior management level they may be more intensive and last two days or even a week. Because assessment centres use several methods, the weaknesses of individual methods have chance to iron themselves out. However, assessment centres are expensive and may cause disruption to both the candidates and the assessors within the organisation.
Because there are so many methods of selection the question arises “which one to use?” A consultant graphologist would probably claim that graphology is best; a firm specialising in interview training would probably suggest using interviews while a pychometrician might recommend psychometric tests. Before an organisation can choose the best candidate, it must first choose the best method of selection!
Fortunately the three main characteristics that a good selection method should possess are well known.
It must differentiate between different candidates. If a method gives the same score to every person it is useless. References, for example, are often not very helpful because a very large majority of referees maintain that their applicant is very good.
It must give consistent results – otherwise the choice of candidate would depend upon the day on which they were present. Reliability is often measured using a correlation. A correlation of 1.0 means that a candidate will always achieve the same score, while a correlation of 0.0 will mean that the scores of a candidate will vary at random. For example, the scores of ability tests are very reliable and achieve a correlation of 0.9 or more.
This means that a candidate will achieve a very similar score if they complete an ability test a second time. The reliability of traditional interviews is much less, and a typical correlation would be 0.3. This means that, while there would be a slight trend for candidates to obtain similar scores, far more would depend upon the person who interviewed them.
Does the selection method accurately predict which candidates will be successful? Validity is usually established by collecting scores at the selection stage and correlating them with the later job performance.
Occupational psychologists have been studying the use and accuracy of different methods of selection for over 80 years and are able to provide the general results contained in Table 5.2.
The left-hand side of the table shows the frequency with which companies use the different methods. It will be little surprise that the traditional methods of interviews, application forms or letters and references are the most frequently used methods of selecting employees. There are, however, some interesting national differences. In most countries the use of graphology is fairly rare at about 3 per cent.
However, in France approximately 40 per cent of organisations use this technique and the French data have a marked effect upon the average figure shown in Table 5.2. Indeed, the use of graphology outside France is largely restricted to subsidiaries of French companies. Whilst, on average, references are used as a part of selection in 43% of cases there are notable national differences. The use of references in the UK is very prevalent and is used by about 74 per cent of companies, but its use is much less common in other countries.
The right-hand side of Table 5.2 indicates the accuracy (validity) of the methods of selection. It is based largely upon the paper of Schmidt and Hunter (1996). Results gathered over the last 85 years indicate that the traditional and most prevalent methods of selection are not very accurate (valid). Traditional interviews, for example, have a validity of about 0.15.
More modern methods such as work samples, intelligence tests and situational interviews are far more accurate and have validities in excess of 0.50. While this is a big improvement it should be observed that modern methods of selection are still far from perfect and many selection errors are still made.
Selection methods should be equally accurate in predicting the success of candidates irrespective of factors such as sex, ethnic group, age or disability. This does not necessarily mean that every group must have the same average score (the egalitarian fallacy).
The selection process should give applicants a realistic preview of the job. In other words, at the end of the selection process a candidate should have a realistic picture of what the job involves. If they have an unrealistic picture of their future jobs they are likely to leave within a few weeks and the organisation will have to bear the extra costs of recruiting another replacement.
Realistic Job Previews (RJPs) can be provided by giving applicants information in brochures or handouts. An RJP can also be arranged by asking candidates to watch a video or by providing a tour of the workplace and allowing questions to existing employees.
Selection tries to ensure that employees arrive with the skills, knowledge and abilities (competencies) that are needed. However, selection is never perfect. Usually new employees have most, but not all, the required competencies. Training and development is one way of making up the deficit between actual and required competencies.
The subject of training can be divided into five major topics:
i. Assessing training needs
ii. Induction training
iii. On-the-job training
iv. Off-the-job training
v. Management development
An analysis of training needs usually proceeds in three stages.
First, the strategic plan is inspected and the major human resource implications are identified. For example, a strategic plan may aim for a 20 per cent increase in market share. To achieve the increase it may be necessary to arrange training for existing sales staff, recruit four extra sales representatives and seven production operatives together with two additional administrative staff. Sometimes, this process is called human-resource planning.
Second, the capabilities of existing or new employees are evaluated against the capabilities that will be needed. The difference is often called “the training gap”.
Third, arrangements are made to provide the training and development which will close the training gap. In essence, this training can be divided into on-the-job training and off-the- job training. If the strategic plan requires a large number of new employees, a substantial level of induction training will be needed to close a training gap.
Induction training aims to familiarise a newcomer with the organisation. It usually covers details which are taken for granted by existing employees. It may include arrangements for receiving wages, conditions of employment, grievance procedures, refreshment facilities and car-parking arrangements.
It aims to remove irritants to new employees and reduce the probability that they leave within the first few weeks. Induction training will usually include information about the company, its history, its structure and products. This information is an important element of fostering company loyalty and ensuring that a new employee becomes an effective one. Finally, induction training usually tries to communicate the culture and ethos of the organisation.
On-the-job training is probably the oldest and simplest type of training. Since time immemorial new female recruits were told to “sit by Nellie” and watch what she does and male recruits have been told to “stand by Sid” and be similarly observant. On the job training requires little preparation and there are few obvious costs.
Furthermore, the training is very realistic and there are no transition problems when a trainee is transferred to production. Nevertheless, this type of training has severe problems: it is inefficient and costly. Costs are, however, hidden and show themselves in terms of low production from Nellie and longer training times. In addition Nellie may teach the trainee bad habits!
Other forms of on-the-job training have more positive outcomes and they are very useful after initial training has been completed. The success of these approaches depends upon careful planning and the availability of a mentor who will discuss work with the trainee and ensure that appropriate lessons are drawn. First, the mentor determines what the trainee already knows. Often the mentor will then demonstrate the job to the trainee.
In other cases the mentor will arrange for someone else to give instruction. Instruction will cover one point at a time. The trainee will be asked questions to check that learning has taken place. When it is evident that the trainee has fully understood the task he or she will be asked to try it out by themselves. Once the trainee has gained confidence further guidance can be given. Finally, the trainee is left to perform the job unaided. Initially the performance of the trainee should be monitored at regular intervals but later this can be reduced.
This basic approach to on-the-job training is used in two main contexts- job rotation and special assignments. Job rotation is useful with new recruits, such as graduates, who have little previous experience of work or the organisation. It involves moving trainees through a series of jobs in different departments.
For example, a graduate trainee may spend the first month in the production department, the second month in the sales department, and so on. Job rotation is an excellent way of allowing new recruits to build up knowledge of the organisation. It produces a flexible workforce and it allows trainees to make informed decisions about the direction of their future careers.
Special assignments are used with longer-serving employees. Generally a review of training needs for a specific employee reveals development need. An assignment which is different to present duties and which will allow new knowledge and skills to be acquired is found. For example, the strategic plan of a financial service company may envisage expansion into foreign markets.
A review may reveal that an existing personnel manager has no experience of foreign cultures. The organisation may therefore arrange a special assignment in which the individual is seconded for six months to the personnel department in, say, Singapore. Sometimes it is possible to arrange a special assignment in another organisation.
Off-the-job training is conducted away from the workplace. This can disrupt the normal flow of work and incur substantial out-of-pocket expenses.
Off-the-job training can be delivered in many ways including:
(a) Night school
(b) Day release
(c) Block release
(d) Special seminars and workshops
(e) Correspondence courses
(f) Audiovisual training
The most appropriate method of delivery depends upon circumstances. For example, a day release course for printing machine engineers may be appropriate for trainees who work close to a suitable college. However, commuting and travelling times would make day release inappropriate for similar engineers who work in outlying areas. They might find block release courses more suitable. Similarly, much will depend on the ability and motivation of trainees. Generally, night school courses and correspondence courses are only suitable for people who are very highly motivated.
Off-the-job training may involve a wide range of the instruction methods.
The main ones are:
1. Lectures- Lectures are a very cost-effective method because their size is limited only by the size of the lecture theatre. Lectures can be very good at introducing a topic, identifying the structure of a subject and highlighting the key points. Lectures are not a good medium for consolidating learning of detailed matters. This must be completed by the trainee at a later time using their notes and books.
Lectures have an intrinsic difficulty- they are usually boring. Communication between lecturer and learner is usually one-way only. It is therefore vital that lecturers maintain interest by introducing variety and involving the students in some way.
2. Classes and seminars are costly because their size is usually limited to a maximum of 16 students. Classes are based upon the question and answer technique. They are interactive and are able to maintain interest while consolidating detailed learning. Classes can only make slow progress and can cover only small areas of a subject. Neither classes nor lectures are good at teaching interpersonal skills.
3. Role plays require trainees to act out certain situations – usually situations involving decisions or interpersonal situations. For example, customer relations training may involve trainees dealing with a succession of “mock” customers who make a range of complaints. Often role plays are videotaped so that the trainee’s performance can be discussed and appropriate lessons drawn.
4. Discussion groups are used when training focuses upon changing or developing attitudes. A relevant topic will be introduced by a skilled leader. The group will then be invited to discuss the topic. The leader inconspicuously rewards positive attitudes and ignores negative ones. For example, a training session on ethnic diversity might include a discussion group on racial prejudice.
Whenever a participant expresses tolerant attitudes, the discussion leader signals approval and encourages the participant to amplify their ideas. The contributions of participants with intolerant attitudes are accepted politely, often with minimal comment.
5. Case studies are a very popular method of in-depth management development. Students are given background data and the details of the specific problem. They are then asked to discuss the situation and recommend a course of action. The actions actually taken and their consequences are then revealed. Students are able to compare their suggestions with the action actually taken. They also try to analyse the situation to evaluate why the organisation’s actions did, or did not, work. Case studies aim to extend the experience of students in a short period of time.
It is claimed that the process improves students’ analytical ability. Although the case study method is used in many top management courses, it also has its critics who maintain that the method results in “shared ignorance”. There is an assumption that the person who creates a case study is an objective and knowledgeable expert. In fact, most problem situations involve a number of explanations.
The person who creates a case study will choose the explanation which suits her or his purposes and it can never be known whether or not they have chosen the correct one. Students like case studies because they seem realistic. In fact, most case studies are oversimplifications and the solutions proffered rarely have empirical evidence of their effectiveness.
Indeed, shortly before its collapse in shame and ignominy, business schools around the world used more than a dozen Harvard Business School case studies that hyped and praised the innovation of Enron and the Enron business model. In effect, these case studies were teaching bad business methods.
6. Audiovisual training is a medium that has many potential advantages. Typically, training is contained on a compact disc and trainees can use it at any time convenient to them. The flexibility of audiovisual training means that there is no disruption of the normal workflow.
The training is also likely to be cheap since it can be delivered to any workstation or home study which has a personal computer. At its simplest audiovisual training will involve a screen containing text. When this has been read, the trainee completes, say, a multiple-choice test and he or she is immediately given a score which shows whether the material has been learned successfully.
Audiovisual training can have more sophisticated features. For example, a video clip can be used instead of text. In some situations, audiovisual training can be highly interactive and the training can branch according to decisions made by the trainee. Audiovisual training is very useful when there is a clear set of objective “facts” that a trainee must learn.
For example, audiovisual training is a good way of training computer programmers to diagnose problems and faults. However, the set-up costs are high. This means that it is only appropriate where a large number of people require training. The high set-up costs also mean that this training is appropriate where the material is unlikely to change for a significant period of time.
Indeed, critics complain that audiovisual training is inflexible, because the costs of making adjustments are so high. Initially, trainees like audiovisual training. However, the most able trainees quickly become bored and complain that it is too repetitive and pedestrian.
Training implies learning specific knowledge, procedures or skills to meet existing challenges. Development implies the improvement of a more general capability which can be used to meet unforeseen situations. Management development is therefore a broader concept than management training.
In most circumstances people in the first two years of their management career should spend at least four weeks on development courses. Thereafter, experienced managers should spend about two weeks per year on development activities. The two most prominent aspects of management development are learning skills and self-awareness.
Learning skills are an important aspect of “knowledge management”. In a dynamic and rapidly changing world it is impossible to specify and train people to solve all the problems they might encounter. It is much better to train people in ways of solving problems so that they can solve problems themselves as and when they arise. This means that managers need to be aware of their own style and any of their weaknesses in problem solving. Probably the most famous analysis of problem solving was made by Kolb and Fry (1975).
They viewed problem solving as a continuous cycle with four main stages:
(a) Concrete experience occurs when a person performs an action and then directly experiences the results of that action in their specific situation.
(b) Observation and reflection follow from concrete experience. An individual tries to understand why the result followed from the action in that particular situation.
(c) Abstract conceptualisation involves extending the lessons from a particular situation to a more generalised idea of how the action and the result might be linked in a wide variety of situations.
(d) Active experimentation involves seeking out new circumstances in which to test the general ideas generated in the previous stage.
The active experimentation produces a new set of concrete experiences which set the cycle in motion again. According to this analysis management learning is a continuous cycle in which ideas become more and more accurate. Kolb found that individuals differed in their approach to problem solving. Some would emphasise concrete experience while others would emphasise active experimentation, etc.
However, effective learners need to be proficient at all stages of the cycle. A weakness at any one stage will slow down the whole learning process. It is therefore important for managers to locate their area of weakness and develop it to the level of their ability at the other stages. A number of people including Honey and Mumford have adapted Kolb’s ideas.
The self-awareness of managers can be developed in a number of ways. Sometimes it is achieved by special training courses (T groups) where a workgroup sets aside, perhaps, two days to discuss their perceptions of each other. Each group member becomes, in turn, the focus of the training. The other group members give their frank and open views of that person and any inaccurate perceptions are challenged and discussed. Often the sessions are stormy but, it is claimed, at the end of the training the workgroup will have fewer personal misunderstandings.
360° feedback is another way of increasing a person’s awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. A questionnaire measuring the competencies the organisation believes are necessary is produced. The questionnaire is then circulated to a person’s boss, their colleagues and their subordinates and it is completed anonymously.
The results are compiled and fed back to the individual so that she or he will be aware of how they are perceived by other people. The feedback will clearly indicate areas where other people believe they are strong and where they are weak. A manager will then be in a position to take action to improve areas of weakness.