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Bringing on Staff

The idea of adding staff may seem like a pipe dream to many emergency managers. The truth is, many emergency management offices across the nation, including private, public, and non-profits are one-person shops. Oftentimes, the hardest work you ever do will be justifying the need for help when you are told, “the budget just does not allow for more staff.” On occasion, you will be allowed to bring on new staff, but there are steps that can be followed to make the process and transition a lot easier.

Make Your Expectations Clear

Step 1 is to create a comprehensive picture of what you want and expect from your team. This might seem overwhelming, but it will help you hire the right people. This will keep you from just plugging holes and instead you can find the perfect person based on your wants and needs. This is a lot more than a job description; it is a deep dive into, not just your wants, but the stuff you really need.

Get the Gang Involved

You should really look at involving your current team in the process. If you want, an office to work well together there is no better step to take. Your team are going to be working with the person you are hiring, so why not allow them a say. In addition, as long as you are sharing your vision with the team, they may have people from their network who would fit well. Involving your team in the choice also communicates teamwork to the group, and shows them that you value their involvement.

Distribute Responsibility Liberally

You should find and hire the best candidate for the position and then trust them to drive their portion of the work. I have operated in organizations where managers hire people who are not capable, in an attempt to hold on to control. This is insane. What is the point of hiring someone to do a job you end up doing yourself. Your philosophy as a manger should be to bring in people who are smarter than you in their roles. Your job is not to be the subject matter expert on everything, just in management.

Don’t Hold On Too Long

You may be tempted to hold on to your great team member once you identify them, but I would encourage you not to hold on to tight. One of the best ways to destroy a good employee is to stifle their growth. I know an emergency manager who goes through team members like crazy, but he is losing them through promotion to other roles within the organization and to jobs outside it. The funny thing is he has one of the best functioning teams I have seen. His people know that he is always signing their praises and looking to promote their capabilities. Who wouldn’t want to work hard for a manager like this?

Some of you may never work in an office bigger than you and maybe a part-time administrative assistant. Unfortunately, this is the current nature of our work. Others will get lucky and be able to add staff and build a quality team. Following the simple steps above will go a long way in making your job a lot easier, and your team a lot stronger.

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