The Rewards And Dangers Of Hiring From Within!

Opportunities dance with those already on the dance floor! Pick the ones ready (stars)-motivate them - push them into the right seat - rest is all about success!

By Susan Leonard


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Employee development is no cakewalk- putting the right people in the right position is the hardest part of the hiring process. To make the best hiring choice, choosing the "right candidate' and the "mode of hiring' of the talent is crucial. When an open requisition hits business, the first move would be a strategic approach to look for an internal resource with similar expertise. Remember— an internal staffing is as crucial as external hiring. Laying out specific expectations for the new role just as we would do for a new hire is very much needed.

Past Performance and Future Potential would be the measuring scale for internal hiring revealing the overall work health of an employee. Failure to assess potential is a real business problem and would be a major business blunder if it is done wrong. This will also be an ongoing proactive and strategic effort to build a stronger talent pipeline and will be the key tool for succession planning to ensure long-term health, growth and stability.

When the Projection of "Future-Potential' is RIGHT :)

The rewards of internal staffing are huge and it is to our advantage as we're getting a "known" resource who has already proved his potential with his past performance. In other words, the person's potential is already identified (individuals who can make a difference to organisation's performance through their immediate contribution). Leadership is all about inspiring people to do things that they thought they never could do! (focusing on people capabilities rather than their limitations).

The employee would be familiar with the business and the people. Building relationships with the external/internal (coworkers) stakeholders will never be a struggle resulting in building a stronger culture. On the job, training/transition would also be less, which boosts their productivity, with very minimal downtime.

Promoting people and giving them greater responsibility will increase retention and induce positive vibes — in turn, rewarding the loyal employees by meeting personal aspirations/passion too. They also realise their room for advancement and there is a reward for a job well done. Employees and new joiners-workers witness the potential for growth which will build the trust factor in shaping their own career in the organisation.

Pushing the employees to the next grid motivates and enriches their passion to lead by example! — reflecting the #corevalues on their professional front.

When the Projection of "Future-Potential' is Wrong

There could be an ugly side to internal staffing too! It can turn into a disaster if the calculated potential did not perform as expected. As the whole staffing process is based on past performance, thinking about the big picture is critical. The consequences of being promoted to the "level of incompetence' can be catastrophic for any small companies (or SMEs) as each employee would have much greater dependencies, where their potential to do harm is much greater.

The prospect of internal hiring is very scary when the employee's focus is more on quickly rising up the career ladder rather than understanding that real growth comes from increasing their depth of knowledge in their particular field of expertise. Quickly without their realization, the fancy title will outweigh their actual knowledge-base of being an expert which would start rattling their own cage! (peers, coworkers and reporters would smell fake and won't hesitate to let them down) — Causing internal dissent, communication gaps and eventually breaking the team.

It's difficult for even superstars to replicate their previous levels of performance. If the manager's assessment and the individual's self-assessment on the subjective/objective measures differ , the whole prediction of the potential can go awry! Getting into the next level of responsibility would need a different bird's eye altogether — The ability to think over long time horizons or strategic thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, ability to deal with ambiguity and adaptability. Missing out even on a single frame will crumble the team's overall score.

Moving people into new assignments (including managerial roles/pilot batches/ cross technologies) will also be a challenge when there is a loophole in managing/prioritizing the tasks/operational work/team management resulting in losing focus on their core skill set. Maintaining closer control on the dynamics of the rest of the team is also fairly important, particularly if we're promoting one cohort to a supervisory role over former colleagues of the same skill, same calibre and same experience which would build a room for resentment.

One of the other negative outcomes is leaving the "knowledge gap" unattended — denying access to someone (external hires) with a different world view, skills, experience not giving space for new ideas or direction.

In Conclusion

This mostly happens when the potential predictions go for a flip! Internal staffing needs to be done in a calculated way by assessing the "most' qualified person for each position, by gauging their strengths, weaknesses and their passion rather than taking decisions by assuming, being biased or taking a chance — as the latter would get a hard blow!

Internal Staffing is all about succession planning (strategic roadmap) — as the first step, if we hire people whose passion intersects with their career there is no much external push needed for that individual. The key would be to identify the "mind-share + heart-share' resources when they are on their very own path of personal mastery who would have the internal fire to learn, cross their own benchmarks, will keep them going. Plotting such resources in the Potential-Performance matrix becomes a relatively easier job and reduces the cost of performance errors!

Internal hiring is a safe bet to meet our hiring woes and it needs careful consideration through all aspects such as skill, competency, attitude, culture-fit, work habits for the upward internal move. It is a winning combination of spotting talent internally (matching career growth with aspirations) and the company's reorganisation by minimising the hiring cost.

Periodic analysis of the work health of the employee by plotting them in the grid (integration of Performance and Potential) gives a clear picture of the current performance status and the clarity of the next level of the grid. This will avoid surprises and employees being stuck in the same role/positions for long. Identifying where they stand and pushing up consistently will eventually yield outstanding stars who stand out from the crowd!

Susan Leonard

Head of HR at OrangeScape

Susan is the Senior HR Manager at OrangeScape, Chennai. An incisive MBA professional, Susan has close to 10 years of qualitative and enriching experience in HR. She has led the entire gamut of operations including talent acquisition, retention and company culture management; has been deeply involved in elevating processes to strengthen capabilities and ensure to meet current and future business needs. Prior to OrangeScape, she was with Randstad India and UST Global.

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