From a very rudimentary perspective, the definition of “qualified staff” would simply consider the potential employee’s abilities to perform a task or be trained for a required skillset. These capabilities are clearly important in completing a given job; however, when building staff to support the needs of any organization, there is much more to consider.

A qualified staff is the heart of an organization and will afford sustainability and growth for the business. When identifying the organizational need, you, as a leader, are responsible to build a team that can provide continuous forward movement on business requirements. This movement includes, not only the ability to complete a given task, but to think past the task at hand, innovate, and continuously improve. The people whom you hire to work as part of your staff are the drivers who make or break your program.

Qualifications can be defined in many ways but generally fall into two categories: technical skills and community skills.

TECHNICAL SKILLS.

Technical skills are procedural-based capabilities that are already known, are easily absorbed based on past training/study, or can be learned by the staff member through experience or more intense instruction. Trained and technically capable staff members must not only be able to carry out a given task, but also be curious and thought-driven. The latter two are at the heart of learning and will provide the employer with a staff member who will bring essential insight into tasks, problem solving, and critical thinking.

When identifying potential staff, your human resources department will likely vet candidates and provide options for review. As leader, you must then make decisions based on the data provided. A resume will outline education and experience, providing information on a person’s past activities. A deeper dive into understanding the potential ability to grasp complex questions through the interview process will help define capabilities. That short window of interaction is the time to get a sense of the knowledge, understanding, and technical skills of which the candidate is capable. With a lot riding on decisions made here, the tougher part of making a good staff choice comes with the understanding of a person’s ability to interact with others (e.g. clients, co-workers, or other professionals).

Community Skills.

Community skills are softer and more difficult to identify, but they are just as critical. The working community developed through the building of a qualified staff requires professionals that work together with a single strategic focus. Each member may, and probably should, bring different propensities in style, but all must be capable of discussing, debating, and challenging one another.

The community skills formed in building qualified staff will allow for development of a functioning team. These skills provide the platform for a team to interact in a positive and constructive manner. As in any community, there will be disagreements and sometimes serious deliberation on challenges faced. The ability for the team to work through to consensus while maintaining appropriate strategic focus will allow the business to stay on track and continue solving problems that could slow progress toward strategic goals.

A qualified staff fulfills the requisites of both technical and community skills. Ultimately, it is the job of the leader to build and nurture the team through transparency, trust, and respect. That task, done well, will lead to the establishment of a capable, productive, and cohesive community of qualified staff.

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