Over the years I have had experiences related to staffing that have taught me some sobering truths.
Recognize The Hidden Investment of Staff (part 3 of 4)
Over the years I have had experiences related to staffing that have taught me some sobering truths. [This is part 3 of Hiring Without Regrets.] I’ve led the charge at times to hire a new person that I believed, hoped, and prayed would make a significant impact. I garnered the support, gathered the financial resources, and made the hope -filled hire just to be shocked a few months later by the realization that that hire had almost no positive effect. In some cases the result was worse performance and impact in that ministry area. Can I get an “Amen, I’ve been there” from anyone? Over- estimating the effect of just a single hire is probably not a good idea most of the time. There is another “school of hard knocks” lesson related to the investment and impact of hiring staff. There are times that I have had a staff member leave or be released and during that time the vacant position was left unfilled. During that time there was no perceptible differences in the productivity emerging from that ministry area.
The objective of hiring a new staff member is ultimately to increase ministry effectiveness. For that reason, cost becomes a major factor when considering the addition of a new staff member. The cost of hiring a new staff member includes more than just increasing the size of your payroll. There are also many hidden investments in the process.
It takes time to train and develop a new staff member and those time investments cost the church money, both for the staff member’s time and the trainer’s time. You also need to consider the less obvious investments of adding staff members, such as relocation expenses, benefit packages, commissions, bonuses, employment taxes, and other perks (memberships, car allowance, travel, expense accounts, etc.). The major question to ask yourself is: when can you afford a new staff member?
The experience level of staff you need should determine the investment you make. An entry-level position will require less in compensation and benefits than a position that requires a highly skilled or specialized staff person who may already have years of experience.
Although an entry-level position will require less compensation and benefits than a highly skilled or specialized position, think twice before hiring a staff person who is less experienced than what you need. Many churches make the mistake of hiring less experienced staff to save money, but that’s seldom the end result. A staff person who lacks the experience to do the position properly ends up being less productive, and often makes others less productive as well because they have to continually retrain the inexperienced staff or redo their work. Hiring qualified staff members may cost a little more up front, but in the long run it will save you both time and money.
The Ministry Advantage Cost Analysis Worksheet is available in Module 4 of 7 Practices of Effective Churches to help you calculate the investments of adding a new staff member. Modules and supporting video coaching are part of the 24/7 Online Coaching Center content. One subscription provides leadership coaching to all staff and volunteer leaders in your church. To subscribe to the 24/7 Online Coaching Center visit us at www.ministryadvantage.org.
Conducting a Ministry Position Analysis
The purpose of a Ministry Position Analysis is to determine exactly what you need in a particular position before you hire a new staff member. This gives you the information you need to make the best hiring decisions. You’ll use the information obtained from your analysis to write a Ministry Position Description, which defines what skills and qualifications, the position requires and what’s expected in terms of responsibilities and performance. The better you can define what you need, the better chance you have of attracting qualified applicants and finding the right person to fill the position.
A Ministry Position Analysis is simply looking at the duties and responsibilities a particular position requires, and determining what knowledge, skills, spiritual gifts, and abilities are needed to perform the position adequately. Your analysis will also include a look at working conditions, any equipment used, and how much time is devoted to different tasks or duties.
You may need to analyze an existing position if you’re hiring someone for a position that has been filled in the past, or you many need to analyze a position that doesn’t currently exist in your church. In either case, it’s important to analyze the position in terms of what the position should entail, not how it’s currently being performed.
Next Week: Using A Ministry Position Analysis
Submitted by Russ Olmon, President of Ministry Advantage
There are many words that come to my mind when I think about what I’ve learned about hiring the right people nearly every time but “hope” is not one of them.
Using A Ministry Position Analysis (part 4 of 4)
My golf instructor recently made an astute observation about my mediocre golf game. He said, “Russ, you use what I call the ‘hit and hope method’ because what you do is step and hit the ball without much consideration and you just hope it turns out alright.” [This is part 4 of Hiring Without Regrets.] There are many words that come to my mind when I think about what I’ve learned about hiring the right people nearly every time but “hope” is not one of them. However, in my coaching and consulting around the world this is the word I often hear used by a staff or team that is having some difficulty. Leaders will say things like, “Well, we did not know her well but we hoped she was the right person.”, or “No, he did not have any of the experience we needed, but we like him and we hoped he could grow into the role.”. What I pray has happened over the past four weeks is that you have grown in your understanding of what it takes to make the right hire every time.
As we discussed last week you should conduct a Ministry Position Analysis (MPA) on every position in your church, whether you are currently hiring for that position or not. An MPA is used for far more than simply hiring the right people. Once an MPA is done, you’ll use it in a variety of ways, including:
Future Staff Selection. Once you understand what a position entails, you can make an appropriate selection by matching position requirements with an applicant’s experience, spiritual gifts, and skills.
Recruitment. Where and how you find qualified staff is often dependent on what skills and qualifications are needed. For instance, a general temporary agency may not be a good recruiting source for a highly skilled position in your church.
Compensation. Compensation levels are generally based on the level of skill required to perform the position. Your position analysis will give you the foundational information necessary to set appropriate compensation levels.
Ministry Position Descriptions. Your position analysis will provide the information necessary to create a Ministry Position Description, which defines the specific duties and responsibilities of each position, eliminating confusion over who is responsible for what functions.
Performance Appraisals. A Ministry Position Analysis gives you the basis for setting performance standards and expectations. This allows you to compare what’s expected in a position with what’s actually being performed.
Training. A Ministry Position Analysis will point out areas of training new staff members will require. Or you may find you already have a staff person who could fill a position with some additional training in a specific position skill.
There are several ways to gather information for a Ministry Position Analysis. You can have existing staff members fill out questionnaires, you can observe staff members as they perform the position, or you can interview staff members about their position. Whichever method you choose, the most important thing to remember is to be thorough.
If you are considering adding a position you don’t currently have and are not very familiar with, you may want to look to other churches for a list of different ministry positions. This may help you get an idea of what’s required in the position you are considering. Ask these churches if they can describe what went into their thinking as they developed new ministry positions. Also para-church organizations often have Ministry Position Descriptions including the skill sets needed for various positions in some church settings.
Each method of gathering information has advantages and disadvantages. For example, observation may require several hours over a period of several days to see the full scope of a position, but it’s probably the most thorough and effective method of Ministry Position Analysis. Interviews can also be effective, but they can be time consuming and questionnaires might not get enough information if the wrong questions are asked or the answers aren’t complete. A combination of methods is generally required and the most effective for most positions.
You’ll want to find out information such as:
What are the objectives and goals of the ministry position?
What are the specific tasks performed in the ministry position?
How much time is spent on each task?
What specific skills and knowledge are required to do the ministry position?
What special training is required?
What special training is required for new staff members?
What previous experience is required?
What are the emotional demands of the position?
The Ministry Position Analysis Worksheet in the Ready-To-Use Forms section will assist you in conducting each Ministry Position Analysis. This training content is part of the 24/7 Online Coaching Center content. Link: ministryadvantage.org
Submitted by Russ Olmon, President of Ministry Advantage