The economy seems to ever so slowly be on the rise. What lessons have you learned from the recession? What are your plans for 2011?

Most employers and employees agree that the workplace they knew prior to 2007 is not the same one that currently exists. Some of the changes are obvious: fewer staff members, salary freezes, benefit reductions, etc. Others are more subtle: a more guarded work approach, enhanced team mindedness, greater emphasis on training, and a stronger customer-service orientation.

Have you taken a new tally of your work culture’s post-recession strengths and weaknesses? Now might be a good time to start so that when you do get the green light to recruit new staff, you’ll know your needs and quickly be able to attract top talent.

Remember, although the hiring pool will be overflowing with job applicants, it’s apt to also be overloaded with those who are lackluster performers, undesirables or people generally unsuited to your workplace and the job.

Know Your Needs
You’ll be able to be more selective when hiring post-recession employees but your budget is apt to be limited. Most companies say they will look for a small handful of the best recruits who can help generate revenue, instead of hiring in larger numbers. And they want employees who are teachable, as ongoing training is also high on the agenda.

What can you do to ensure the person you hire is the best one for your institution?

Draw up a job description, so you have a basis from which to work. Know who will manage this new person and then list his or her typical managerial approaches. Is there an emphasis on macro or micro managing? Are speed and flexibility essential? Do you need someone experienced and high caliber or fresh and moldable?

Once you have a clear picture of the person you see as right for the job, it will be easier to find the right employee.

Attract Top Talent
Post recession, it may not be salary alone that draws top talent. Many displaced workers have been forced to take a good hard look at what they really want to do with their lives. For many, spending 40 hours a week at place that pays well but makes them miserable is no longer an option.

Does your workplace offer a positive, upbeat, casual environment? For some, this will be a deal maker and, assuming the pay rate is fair, could be what pushes them to join your institution.

Others value an accessible manager, one who plans off-site lunches where problems, ideas or strategies can be more openly discussed.

Additionally, company practices that may draw top talent to you include:

• A team environment
• Growth opportunities
• Frequent employee appreciation and recognition

Companies that are waiting for things to improve further before aligning their hiring goals will miss out on the outstanding staff-building opportunities to come. The competition to recruit the best employees is going to be fierce. Don’t set yourself up for failure.