Staffing is a very integral part of human resource management and is critical for any consulting company in particular. In professional service firms, staffing can be analysed at the company level and at the project level. We will talk about staffing at the company level in this article. In this perspective, staffing refers to the process of searching, selecting and also retaining of competent employees to achieve organisational goals. Staffing is defined as the process of acquiring, on-boarding and retaining a labour force of good quantity and quality for creating a positive impact on organisation’s effectiveness. Similarly, staffing involves the practices of recruitment, transfer, redeployment, outputs, retirement and retention.
The critical staffing practices of companies include selection of management consultants. This is due the high economic value of human capital. As a further step of recruitment, continuous feedback and appraisal have proven effective for the human resource development and performance improvement at both individual and organization level.
The policies prevalent in the professional service firms can be briefly described into the following bullet points :
- Up-or-out promotion system: This policy, as the name suggests, states that either a particular individual gets a promotion during a particular cycle, or is removed from the company. This policy seems very harsh at first but is practical at the same time. It lets the organization analyse the performance of the individual throughout the year and if it seems satisfactory, he gets a promotion and if not, he gets fired and is replaced with a more competent resource.
- Turnover as an objective: This is a common practice amongst the organizations. They define an objective in terms of turnover expected at the end of a financial year and work towards achieving it. In many companies, there is also a variable component in the employees’ salary package which depends on the organization’s achievement of that objective.
- Non detailed long term planning : Professional service firms adhere to long term planning but it is not very detailed.
- Little flexible assignments : The assignments given to the resources are very little to not flexible. They have to follow the timelines of the given task and at the same time ensure that the quality of the final product is not compromised.
- Uniformity of procedures: The procedures and rules followed in the organizations are uniform across the departments and for all the kinds of employees.
- Ownership : The companies like to delegate the ownership of a particular department to the head of the department and subsequently to the employees working in the department. When an employee is made responsible and the owner of the department, he/she has to take the accountability of that and that in turn results in the positive growth of the company.
- Work-Life Balance: This is kind of a hidden strategy of the companies. The more work life balance they provide to their employees, the more they will be motivated towards achieving the goals of the company. A tired and sleep deprived person is of no good to their own and to the company’s well being. Therefore, it is crucial for the companies to provide the flexibility in terms of working hours, leaves and recreational activities to the employees, in order to keep then energised and motivated.
So in the above points, we detailed about the staffing policies that are generally followed in the professional staffing service firms. These policies are a result of a researches on a wide set of samples over many years. The above policies are a combination of differential factor such as turnover, long-term planning and contextual factors such as ownership, work life balance etc.