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hiring staff culture

6 Best Practices for Bringing on New Church Staff

Don't forget these important items to check off your list before hiring, so you can on-board a new staff member who will fit seamlessly in to your unique church culture.

You're busy. You need help and now you have been approved to hire someone. You have the perfect person in mind. STOP! Here are a few things you need to do before bringing on a staff member as well as what to do after you hire them.

1. Communicate everything upfront before the interview is over.

The interview process is your opportunity to ask tough questions. Why did they leave their last job? What is their relationship with the Lord like? Be sure to discuss the standards and expectations of the church and why they are required. Understand any upcoming vacations or prior commitments. Before they leave the interview process, you should know everything there is to know. They should know everything there is to know.

2. Have candidate attend your church service and get feedback on their reactions.

Be sure that whoever you are considering to hire attends a service and some mid-week activities and fully understands the culture of the church. You need to ask questions about how they felt about the service, the activity and the people they were around.

Remember that words matter. Listen closely to what they say. You are looking for key words that may signify a red flag or a green light. Typically you know your culture and how it presents to a newcomer. If you expect someone to fit in, you need to have a list of culture items that are important to you. After your candidate attends a service, you can talk to them and see if there are red flags or if everything is a green light.

3. Expectations of the job.

So many times I have heard stories of candidates going to work for a Church and they make this statement, “Within the first few days I knew this was not what I thought it was going to be.” This should not be the case. When you take a job, every expectation should be covered, even expectations that may stray outside of the normal. Be sure to cover them all and be sure that the candidate understands them.

4. Orientation.

When on-boarding a staff member, be sure to put them through an orientation. The orientation should help the employee understand all the systems and policies of your facility. This is a normal and natural process of hiring a staff member. Many times these orientations turn into pure show and tell of how to get around in the job. Make sure they are more than just that. Be sure to not only help them understand the tools of the job, but also expectations for the team culture. We expect you at staff lunch, or staff devotions, dress code, etc.

5. Trial period. Always have a trial period.

A time period of evaluation, after which you have a meeting and help the staff member understand where they are in the process. Typically this is 3 months, but can be less. I would not recommend going longer than 3 months.

Remember this, if the person is not a good fit or has butted heads against policies, procedures and/or people, you are better off letting them go at the end of the trial period then letting them extend into the employment. Many famous organizations have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the 3 month trial period.

6. Room for Advancement.

Make sure when you hire or create an organizational chart that you always allow room for advancement. Intentionally create space in your organization for advancement. This is a big deal. If you lock someone in and never allow them to see the expansion potential, you will have higher turn over.

I recommend that after 1 year of employment you further point out this potential. Good employees will see it and understand it, but it’s good to talk about it. Another way of stating this is to always drip the vision out so everyone knows where you are going and how they can further expand inside your church. These are just a few things that will allow you to tighten up your practices when bringing on a new staff member.


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