It’s been said that the longest journey begins with the first step.  The same may be said for organizational staffing.  The question then becomes what the first step may be:


As a business owner, briefly and quickly consider each of your employees.  How many of them would you, right now, be excited to retain?


If the answer isn’t a quick, “every one of them,” you may have started the journey of staffing.


If you need convincing regarding the value of staffing (selecting and intentionally retaining employees who fit your organizational culture, who are in roles that fit both them and your organizational culture and who treat your customers and each other well) consider:


Research by Dylan Minor of the Kellogg School demonstrated that a rare 1% superstar performer could bring an extra $5,300 value to an organization over the work of an average employee.  Replacing a toxic employee with one described as average created cost savings of $12,800.


Good staffing decisions do not stop at the hiring/selection decision.  Managers need to be aware of the impact of employees’ conduct and performance on others.  Each individual’s conduct can influence the behavior of everyone in the work group and can impact customers.


As you consider managerial options to address potential toxic or less-than-average employees, keep in mind that discharge may be an extreme – and unnecessary – solution.  An employee demonstrating toxic behavior may perform better given a new challenge or new opportunity.  Candid conversation (see the post on this site in March 2016) may lead to mutually positive results, avoiding the disruption and cost of turnover and building loyalty and trust.


  • Are you confident in your interviewing/selecting skills and those of individuals who make these decisions?
  • Are you managing the performance of all of your staff: superstars, average performers and those who may be toxic?
  • Do you and your managers have skills necessary to achieve your staffing objectives?

An individual has resigned, and you’re the potential hiring manager.  Where to begin?


If your response is to contact human resources and re-fill the position just as it was, you’re not alone.  Perhaps, though, this is an opportunity to (re)consider your approach: one that builds on the strengths of your team and the organization.


Past and Present

  • Consider your current team: their talents, skills, experience and competencies.
  • Consider situations in which your team has succeeded and note the reasons.


Future:  Now look ahead to situations the business will face over the planning period ahead.

  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • What skills and competencies will help your team continue to succeed and contribute to business success?
  • Which individuals do you or will you rely on?
  • Whose strengths can be leveraged and shared?
  • Whose skills or competencies need additional polish?


Based upon these considerations, decide what competencies will be important to the success of a new hire within the team.  Consider the variety of prior experience an individual may have that would demonstrate these competencies.


If the organization talks about promoting and developing from within,  look for individuals ‘hidden’ within other departments or locations who could be successful in this position if only offered the opportunity.


Asking current team members for connections and suggestions can add to your store of knowledge while adding the additional benefits of continuing team building, trust building and team ownership of the process.


This combined information and knowledge will be a giant step to initiate active recruiting – internal and/or external – that can bring potentially strong applicants to your attention.