Staffing: solved

Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

When I was a wee boy living in the Canadian wilderness, we needed to dig a well, so my dad hired a creepy-looking guy called a “water witch” to wander the property holding a forked stick out in front of him. When, drawn by unseen mystical forces far beneath the earth's crust, his dowsing rod suddenly pointed straight down, it meant he'd discovered a guaranteed gusher.

If only finding the right long-term care employee were that easy.

We seem to know what sort of work environment staff want once they get there — we just don't know how to find them in the first place. Like well drilling or marriage, it often comes down to a gut feeling, an act of faith or just plain dumb luck.

You could try tarot cards, bring in a fortune teller or consult the Oracle of Delphi. In some organizations, prospects are forced through a withering gauntlet of personality tests, designed to reveal exactly what sort of person the applicant guesses you want him or her to pretend to be. But it's all pretty much a shot in the dark. A spin of the roulette wheel. A really expensive and inefficient crapshoot.

But finally, I've discovered a foolproof way to weed out the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, the future long-term care superstars from the hapless pretenders. Just watch them park.

Seriously, don't waste your precious time on interviews or testing. Just sit at your office window with a glass of wine in your hand and watch the applicant arrive. If he drives straight into a parking spot, head first, I strongly suggest you turn out the lights and hide under your desk until he goes away. But if she takes the time to carefully back the car between the lines, leaving it crouching in the stall like an eager cheetah, chances are you've found your perfect employee.

That's because backing in parkers are planners. They know bad things can happen, and they're always ready to make a rapid escape.

Backing in parkers are great at delaying gratification. They know a few extra seconds invested now can save them time later.

Backing in parkers are self-confident. They know there's always the risk of scraping the adjacent car or blindly running over a resident or pet, but they're supremely sure of their skills.

It's an innovative, foolproof hiring strategy. Imagine how much time you'll save, and the needless stress the applicant will be spared. How great will it feel to know your search is over before the car is even turned off?

Instead of wasting half the day making blind staffing judgments based on unsupportable hunches, you'll be able to meet your future employee at the door with a big, work-appropriate hug and say, “Welcome aboard.”

When that happens, there's really no need to thank me. But I will expect a generous finder's fee.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the 2014 Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former SNALF.com at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.

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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.

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