Human Resources Kit For Dummies
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Key procedures you need to put in place in your business to set up a successful internal hiring process include establishing a way to communicate job opportunities to your employees and a procedure they can use to submit applications. Go out of your way to ensure that everyone understands the scope and basic duties of the job, as well as the hiring criteria you’re using.

You also must make sure that, whatever system you use to alert employees to job opportunities in the company, everyone gets a fair shot at the opening. This is an important aspect of creating a culture of equal employment opportunity.

If you see yourself hiring internally at some point down the road, a dynamic employee skills inventory that you plan for in advance can be a great help when the time comes. This inventory is exactly what the name implies: a portfolio of the human capital in your company — a catalog of the individual skills, attributes, credentials, and areas of knowledge that currently exist.

Your skills inventory doesn’t have to be set up as a stand-alone database; in fact, it shouldn’t be. The database you use to store your employee profiles can be used to pull together this information when you need it. That way, if you keep your employee profiles up-to-date, your organization-wide skills inventory will be based on the most current information each time you pull it.

The idea itself is not that new — most companies have traditionally maintained a personnel file or job history file for each employee. The difference lies in how the information is categorized. Conventional job histories tend to focus on accomplishments. An employee skills inventory focuses on the skills and attributes that led to those accomplishments — and that could be called upon once again.

Even if your company is relatively small, it still may be worth the time and effort to develop the capability of pulling an employee skills inventory. The chief benefit is that, instead of picking your way through reams of folders to compile a list of people who may be logical candidates for an opening in your company, you simply search your employee profile database using specific categories.

Some of the categories you may want to pull from the employee profile include the following:

  • Skills/knowledge areas: Business-related functions or activities in which the employee has either special knowledge or a proven record of proficiency.

  • Second-language skills: Emphasize that familiarity with another language is not enough; the candidate must be fluent if he is going to assist customers or work with suppliers who communicate in that language.

  • Special preferences: Requests the employee has made about her own career aspirations, other jobs in the company she’d like to pursue, or areas of the country (or world) to which she may be interested in relocating.

  • Educational background: Schools, degrees, and subjects in which the employee majored and minored.

  • Job history: Include the title, department, organizational unit, and actual job duties the employee has performed at your company and with previous employers.

  • Training courses and seminars: List the program, topics covered, and, if applicable, the number of days spent in training.

  • Test results: Key results, if applicable, of any company-sanctioned tests or other types of measurement activities that the employee has formally undergone during his or her tenure at the company.

  • Licenses, credentials, and affiliations: Obviously, all these categories should be work related and logically linked to the tasks and responsibilities of the job.

The preceding list is meant to be a set of recommendations, nothing more. You can incorporate into your own employee skills inventory anything that you consider relevant. Just be careful that, as you develop your inventory (and the employee profile that drives that inventory), you don’t inadvertently violate any equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. If you have any question about any category, check with legal counsel.

The more in touch you are with the existing talents, skills, and attributes of your people, the easier time you’ll have getting the most out of their expertise.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Max Messmer is chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, the world's largest specialized staffing firm. He is one of the leading experts on human resources and employment issues.

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