The prime concern of the staffing function in the management process is the timely fulfillment of the manpower requirements within an organisation. These requirements may arise episodically as in case of starting a new business or expanding the existing one or they may arise as a matter of the need for replacing those who quit, retire or are transferred or promoted from or are fired from the job. In any case, need for ‘the right person for the right job’ hardly needs an over emphasis. But just as the phrase ‘water water everywhere and not a drop to drink’ amplifies the fact that despite 2/3rd of the earth being water, drinkable water is a scarce commodity, so may also be said of finding ‘the right person for the right job.’ As such, it is important to appreciate staffing as a process that starts from understanding the manpower requirements within the organisation and identifying the potential sources from where it can be met, either from within the organisation or from outside. And, given that ‘the right person’ is scarce, there is need to ‘market’ the job and the organisation to the people. Even in situations where a single job vacancy might attract a few hundreds of the applicants, there is a challenge of selecting the most appropriate one. Freshly appointed persons might need orientation training to familiarise them of the way the things are done in an organisation. And, in case they have been selected only on the basis of academic qualifications and aptitude for learning, they might need training in specific skills as well. For example, if one is selected by a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) unit by virtue of being extrovert and well-versed in English speaking, one needs to be trained in the relevant business processes, telephone conversation etiquettes as well as diction adaptation before actual placement. The employee’s experiences during orientation and placement form his/her ‘first impression’ of the organisation. Even whilst on the job, the employees need training for upgradation of knowledge and skills and for preparing for higher responsibilities. So staff training and development is another important aspect of the staffing process.
What follows is a brief description of the above stages.
- Estimating the Manpower Requirements: You are aware that while designing the organisational structure, we undertake an analysis of the decisions and the decision-making levels, activities as well as relationship among them with a view to evolving the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the structure. Thus, various job positions are created. Clearly, performance of each job necessitates the appointment of a person with a specific set of educational qualifications, skills, prior experience and so on. Thus, understanding manpower requirements is not merely a matter of knowing how many persons we need but also of what type. Given that we need to encourage women, persons from backward communities and persons with special abilities (such as physically challenged, visually and hearing impaired) to assume responsible positions in our organisations, there is a need to understand, and if the need be, to redefine manpower requirements accordingly. Can you think why should we encourage such a diversity in the workforce? Operationally, understanding the manpower requirements would necessitate workload analysis on the one hand and workforce analysis on the other. Workload analysis would enable an assessment of the number and types of human resources necessary for the performance of various jobs and accomplishment of organisational objectives. Workforce analysis would reveal the number and type available. In fact such an exercise would reveal whether we are understaffed, overstaffed or optimally staffed. It may be pointed out that neither over-staffing nor under-staffing is a desirable situation. Can you think why? In fact this exercise would form the basis of the subsequent staffing actions. A situation of over-staffing somewhere would necessitate employee removal or transfer elsewhere. A situation of understaffing would necessitate the starting of the recruitment process. However, before that can be done, it is important to translate the manpower requirements into specific job description and the desirable profile of its occupant — the desired qualifications, experience, personality characteristics and so on. This information becomes the base for looking for potential employees.
- Recruitment: Recruitment may be defined as the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating them to apply for jobs in the organisation. The information generated in the process of writing the job description and the candidate profile may be used for developing the ‘situations vacant’ advertisement. The advertisement may be displayed on the factory/ office gate or else it may be got published in print media or flashed in electronic media. This step involves locating the potential candidate or determining the sources of potential candidates. In fact, there are a large number of recruitment avenues available to a firm which would be discussed latter when we talk about the various sources of recruitment. The essential objective is to create a pool of the prospective job candidates. Both internal and external sources of recruitment may be explored. Internal sources may be used to a limited extent. For fresh talent and wider choice external sources are used.
- Selection: Selection is the process of choosing from among the pool of the prospective job candidates developed at the stage of recruitment. Even in case of highly specialised jobs where the choice space is very narrow, the rigour of the selection process serves two important purposes: (i) it ensures that the organisation gets the best among the available, and (ii) it enhances the self-esteem and prestige of those selected and conveys to them the seriousness with which the things are done in the organisation. The rigour involves a host of tests and interviews, described latter. Those who are able to successfully negotiate the test and the interviews are offered an employment contract, a written document containing the offer of employment, the terms and conditions and the date of joining.
- Placement and Orientation: Joining a job marks the beginning of socialisation of the employee at the workplace. The employee is given a brief presentation about the company and is introduced to his superiors, subordinates and the colleagues. He is taken around the workplace and given the charge of the job for which he has been selected. This process of familiarisation is very crucial and may have a lasting impact on his decision to stay and on his job performance. Orientation is, thus, introducing the selected employee to other employees and familiarising him with the rules and policies of the organisation. Placement refers to the employee occupying the position or post for which the person has been selected.
- Training and Development: What people seek is not simply a job but a career. Every one must have the opportunity to rise to the top. The best way to provide such an opportunity is to facilitate employee learning. Organisations have either inhouse training centers or have forged alliances with training and educational institutes to ensure continuing learning of their employees. The organisations too benefit in turn. If employee motivation is high, their competencies are strengthened, they perform better and thus, contribute more to organisational.