When someone resigns, it is tempting to fall into the race against the clock to replace that person before handover time is lost or the work starts piling up. However, instead of rushing in with a re-hashed Job Description, this is a great opportunity to take a deep breath and step back to take a helicopter view of the role and look at what the current needs of your organisation are.

Taking some time to map the brief of the position before the Job Description is developed or refined will help ensure it is still the right role for your organisation. It is important to note that the brief of the position differs from the Job Description. The brief takes a wholistic view of the role in its relation to the organisation. It takes into account how the position fits within the organisation and how it helps drive the organisation forward and achieve its business goals. Without a proper brief, you can run the risk of repeating past mistakes with the role, the role stagnating or attracting the wrong candidate.

The staff resourcing needs of sporting organisations can change significantly as the landscape changes. What has worked in the past for one role may not be what your organisation needs to negotiate the current or future landscape of your sport. This applies from entry level positions, right up to Board Member positions.

Having been involved with many recruiting assignments in the sporting industry, I have seen that taking the time to get the brief right is the key to a sustainable long-term outcome. But how do we shift our focus from what the position currently looks like?

Firstly, the helicopter approach will redirect the focus from the position to the organisation as a whole. Take some time to assess your organisation’s current needs and the needs going forward into the next 2-3 years. Does the current position still allow you to achieve your goals?

Next, complete an exit interview with the outgoing team member. An exit interview will enable you to secure their input as to what they think the role should look like and the challenges they have faced or foresee the position facing in the future. You may find part of the reason for the current employee leaving is the inability to drive the position forward in its current format. Allowing time for the exit interview before starting the search for a replacement gives you invaluable feedback for your map.

Once you have received some constructive feedback, align it with your vision of where you want your organisation to go and then review the existing Job Description. Update the Job Description to reflect any changes.

With the role now taking shape, review the current capacity within your team. Identify any team members that may be able to step up into the role or take on some of the duties to provide your existing team members with new challenges and greater job satisfaction. Or, if you have been able to make significant changes to the position and value your outgoing team member, you may be able to counter offer with the newly shaped position.

As the parameters of the role come into view, assess whether the organisation could take a more flexible approach by considering someone part time, working from home or job sharing. More and more organisations now offer flexible working environments, and attracting the right people can become more of a challenge if you are not willing to consider these arrangements. Flexible working hours provide a win/win for employers and employees – you can often find someone for the same salary level who has a lot more experience and skills to offer but wants to work less hours.

Finally, take the time to map the brief in its entirety, including what you want in the role and the direction it should take, as well as what you do not want in the role. Including the ‘do not wants’ gives a better understanding of the type of person you are looking for. This could include character traits that may affect your team culture or duties that may have fallen under this role in the past that are no longer required to meet your goals.

The better the brief and Job Description, the better the candidate. A good brief and Job Description gives candidates a clear understanding of what you are looking for and will give them the confidence that you are an employer who takes the time and energy to value the role and the overall journey for appointing new people.