Usable Innovations and Staff Selection

Best practices for staff selection were identified in a meta-analysis of research on selection (McDaniel, Whetzel, Schmidt, & Maurer, 1994).  The authors found that structured interviews that include inquiries about education and background, exchanges of information related to the work to be done, and role play/behavior vignettes (job samples) were effective interview techniques that related to later work outcomes for employees. 

The content for staff selection is based on the Usable Innovation criteria.  It is especially important to ask questions to explore the candidate’s philosophy and values and how well those fit with those embedded in the usable innovation.  Philosophy and values are viewed as “unteachable” within the limits of training and coaching.  Therefore, it is important to select for philosophy and values that match those of the Usable Innovation. 

In current work in a variety of states, the best practices for staff selection often are rated as “not in place.”  The same schools describe the difficulties they face with educators who already are employed and who are only mildly (if at all) interested in making use of innovations.  This is not a teacher problem; this is an implementation problem.  Implementation of innovations with fidelity begins with staff selection and mutually informed consent to engage in practices consistent with the innovation.  In addition, the interviewers should describe the training, coaching, and fidelity assessment practices and encourage questions and discussion to secure informed agreement to participate.

Usable Innovations, Staff Selection, and Creating Readiness for Change

With existing staff groups, an interview process can be used to select educators who will be the first to be prepared to use an evidence-based innovation.  According to Prochaska, Prochaska, and Levesque (2001), about 20% of the current staff might be ready for change, 60% might be willing to think about it and prepare for change, and 20% may not be ready for change anytime soon. 

Staff selection is seen as critical to success in any field (Macan, 2009).  A leader who insists on change when educators are not prepared for change will annoy the educators and frustrate those who are trying to support the use of an evidence-based innovation in the provider agency.