© 007ea8_930 | Thinkstock

It’s a new year and we continue to live in a time of unprecedented change where our economy fluctuates with each news cycle, our government leaders seek to switch gears and our businesses continue to face uncertainty with legislation, labor and client expectations. Fortunately, you can take control of your staffing and talent recruitment goals for 2017. So, take the time to evaluate your business and resolve to follow these New Year’s staffing resolutions:

1. I will not wait until my top employee(s) leave(s) my company to think about “bench strength” or to train my top employee’s replacement. Many of my clients are reporting a shortage of talent; notable people who are available at exactly the time you need them are seemingly impossible to find. While others take time to evaluate where they are in life, you should take the time now to evaluate your team, look at the holes in your workforce, identify existing talent for training and development and think about the unthinkable – what happens if your top person quits to go elsewhere, moves out of state for family or opens a business to become your new competition?

2. I will partner with knowledgeable recruitment professionals when I have a staffing need that I cannot quickly and effectively manage. Many of us “headhunters” know impressive people who are waiting for a markedly better opportunity. Many of these are already gainfully employed by your competition and they might not feel comfortable reaching out to you directly. Sometimes, a good recruiter can make a connection if you are open to discussing what your business needs and when your business will need an influx of talent. Skilled recruiters will become your trusted business partner – don’t do business with those who are just in it to make a fee.

3. I will only hire qualified candidates for my team. Settling for an unqualified candidate hoping that he or she will “get better” as he or she “figures out your culture” rarely ends successfully. More often, your staff is upset by the burden of dead weight, your clients have negative interactions and you are left trying to exit a person that was never a fit in the first place. Hiring managers should all be clear on the basic requirements of the job, what personalities fit your culture, the “nice to have” factors and managers should be able to make a match when a competent candidate becomes available.

4. I will not rush to fill my open jobs, I will take the time to get the right person. Often hiring managers are pressured by staff members requesting short term solutions such as “just hire another sales person, we’ll help to train him or her” or “we can use another person in the office, just hire anybody and we can teach the computer systems/business skills/company culture later.” Don’t rush to hire, an effective employee will make the wait worthwhile.

5. I will not drag my feet when a talented person crosses my path. The converse of #4 is also true. Often, as I consult with owners across the country, I cringe when I hear the words “we would like to consider 3 to 5 top candidates before making an offer.” This is always tough because, in this economy, companies are lucky to find one exceptional candidate. And, when companies find a remarkable candidate, often, they will make an offer very quickly, leaving the hiring manager who drags his or her feet in the cold.

Unlike typical New Year’s Resolutions to exercise more (although that certainly couldn’t hurt), eat less (that works for about one month in my house), reduce expenses (interesting thought - just as I’m starting to receive those Black Friday credit card bills) and increase time with family and friends (this you should do), you and your hiring managers can actually keep these staffing resolutions the entire year!

The author is a talent sourcing consultant with Bruce Wilson & Company.

Hire Power is a monthly column designed to help you recruit, hire and retain the best talent for your company. We’ve got a rotating panel of columnists ready to give you practical, tactical advice on solving your labor problems. Email Chuck Bowen at cbowen@gie.net with topic ideas.