A robot only takes orders. It receives commands and completes the tasks as specified. It can't really think for itself; it can only do what it's been programmed to do. Does that sound a bit too close to what some of your employees do? Do you distribute tasks and receive reports back when each is completed? Is that really all you want in a team member?

On the other hand, a high-performing employee:

  • Consistently produces excellent results
  • Gets the right stuff done on time
  • Offers solutions
  • Understands the "why" of the organization and cares deeply about the vision
  • Knows how his role fits into the bigger picture
  • Takes initiative and prevents problems before they occur
  • Relates well with the rest of the staff, with the congregation and outside vendors

So, which would you prefer? Most leaders would prefer high-performing team members. They don’t want mindless robots; they want people who look beyond the day-to-day to-do lists and consider the larger picture.

This is true in the corporate world and vital in organizations with a strong, well-defined vision. Your church exists to bring more people into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Every program, service or event is somehow geared towards reaching the lost or discipling believers. Who can best advance that goal — robotic order-takers or passionate, high-performing people?

The challenge here is in finding these high-performing employees. Too many church leaders hire people simply because they've known them for a long time or because a candidate doesn't mind taking a pay cut. These are probably great people, but they may not be the best fit to serve your congregation.

Now, keep in mind that not everyone has to be a leadership "superstar." There are great roles for the "steady Eddies" of the world, and in that capacity, they would qualify as a high-performer.

Here are several tips for helping you identify and hire high-performing employees:

  • Ask for referrals. A referral from someone you trust is much more likely to produce a great candidate than a help-wanted ad.
  • Develop/update the job description. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you won’t find it. Define the win for that job and communicate it to potential candidates.
  • Take your time in the hiring process. Don’t wait until you’re desperate for a "warm body" to start looking for a new employee. Start the search a bit early and fill in with volunteers if possible while you look for the best fit.
  • Use personality profile test. A DiSC or other personality profile test can help you get to know a candidate and what drives him/her.
  • Ask quality questions to filter candidates:
    • Give me an example of a problem you've encountered at a prior job and how you solved the issue.
    • What would change in this area if you got the job?
    • How have you handled disagreements with colleagues?
    • How can you best contribute to the vision and mission of our church?

There's a lot at stake when you hire someone for your church staff. They need to be passionate about your church, qualified for the position and be a good cultural fit with your team.

Please don’t rush this process or take just anyone on-board. Take your time, pray for wisdom and hire high-performers who will help your team succeed in reaching more people with the Gospel. Your mission is too important to not invest your time and energy into the hiring process.