There is little argument that the selection of competent people is vital to the success of an organization. The argument comes when two or more people attempt to define the term competent. From the organization planner's (that is, the concerned manager) point of view, the answer to the question of what constitutes competence may be found in the job definition itself. Positions should be staffed with people who can and will do the job. Jobs should not be designed to fit the qualifications of a particular person. This view may cause no problems for the manager who is staffing an entirely new organization, but for the manager upgrading an existing organization it means trouble. Consideration of the potential incumbent in the design of the job may contaminate many of the decisions that relate to job definition.
Staffing can be approached as a process. It involves analyzing job definitions to determine specifications against which potential job holders may be evaluated. This process can, and we think should, be used when analyzing the competence of an incumbent in any position. A compilation of the skills, knowledge, experience, and traits that are required for a job can be summarized to form the specification against which candidates can be evaluated.
The types of staffing choices actually made will depend, as mentioned earlier, on whether a totally new organization is being staffed or an existing company is being reorganized. When a manager finds, through an analysis of the incumbent staff, that personnel do not meet the specifications of their new jobs, few options are available: The incumbents either can be retrained to do the new jobs or other persons can be given the jobs. The culture of the organization will control the reality of the situation. If the weakness of an incumbent is in only one or two new areas, it may be offset by the strengths in other areas of the job; or the areas of weakness may be covered by someone at the next lower level of the organization. If the manager is creating an entirely new position, he may be able to seek expertise from outside the organization, which is often easier than finding expertise in-house. However, the consequence of this action may be to diminish the motivation of those individuals who are relying on a promotion-from-within policy to get them to the top.
Managers very often must face the fact that the best persons they have within their organizations are not nearly good enough. A promotion-from-within program may in fact have created the situation, causing the organization not to develop the innovative climate needed to keep it constantly moving ahead. Managers of companies with internal promotion policies also face the problem of having more than one adequate internal candidate for a job. This leads to the possibility that one might leave. Or a situation might arise in which the most likely candidate for the job is in fact too well qualified, and will undoubtedly become bored in a short time.
The staffing process relies on a manager's skill at matching candidates with job specifications. This requires use of effective interviewing techniques, proper screening, reference checking, and analysis of people chemistry. Many managers maintain a score sheet to remind them of the success/failure rate of their staffing decisions. Most managers make better decisions when they use a rational process based on the needs of the job than when they use intuition.
Restructuring an organization has long-term implications. Those things discussed up till now-analyzing power, defining jobs, and developing good staffing techniques-are just as valid for long-term as for short-term planning.
In some organizations, long-term planning is a separate function concerned with scenarios for twenty-year periods. In others, long-term means next year or even next month. As used here, "long-term" refers to a three-to five-year planning period.
The process of designing an organization to meet five-year needs consists of:
(1) Determining objectives,
(2) Determining benefits needed from the organization structure,
(3) Designing the structure,
(4) Allocating power,
(5) Designing jobs for at least two levels of management, and
(6) Determining specifications for each position.
At the end of this process the plan should know fairly well the ideal form projected for the organization five years in the future and be able to plan for change based on a comparison of present and future structure. From this comparison can flow any needed manpower development, personnel searches, or policies and procedures that will allow the organization to evolve into its proposed state.