NEW YORK: Even in a tight economy, agency executives can implement cost-effective hiring and training programs that will add value to their companies, according to a paper published by the PRSA.
Author Michael Herman, president and COO of Epley Associates, a PR firm in Charlotte, NC, said he has seen best and worst practices in employee recruitment and education, and has used that experience to create a "road map to success."
The paper includes ideas for implementing budget-friendly hiring tests, training programs, and career benchmarks.
"As the economy affected both large and small agencies, there was a need to make hires and ensure that it was exactly the right person," Herman said.
The paper suggests that hiring managers use writing tests and mock client meetings to evaluate job candidates.
On the training side, Herman offers tips for reaping the most from local resources.
He proposes, for instance, that firms have senior staff speak in college classrooms while professors might speak at the firms.
Finally, Herman develops a method for evaluating proficiency at each stage of an employee's career. A Level 1 employee (zero to three years' experience), for example, would be expected to master basic writing, research, and administrative tasks. A Level 3 employee (four to seven years), in contrast, should reach a proficiency in crisis training and new business development.
Herman said two state universities intend to use the paper to revise their curricula.
The paper is published in Counsel, a journal of the PRSA's Counselors Academy, of which Herman is chairman.