Could Internal Promotions Ease Your Hiring Woes?

April 21, 2022 HoganTaylor

Much has been written about the difficulties many employers face finding job candidates. The pandemic has acted as a massive disruption to the labor market and, beginning last year, we saw a perhaps surprising ripple in “the Great Resignation” — a marked trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs and leaving organizations with many open positions.

There is no easy solution to the problem, but some employers could ease their hiring woes by looking inward. That is, review your organizational chart identifying employees eligible to be promoted into open positions and leadership roles the tight job market has made it hard to fill.

Upsides of the Inside

Promoting existing employees is generally less expensive than hiring from the outside. You will save on the costs of finding, recruiting, and hiring a new employee, such as advertising on job boards and engaging with recruiters. Promoting internally also can speed up the process as it is usually faster and easier to identify and interview current employees than to find and schedule meetings with outside candidates.

In addition, promoting employees boosts morale and improves retention. One reason some employees leave their jobs is because they do not see opportunities for advancement. When staff members see their colleagues being promoted to higher positions, it sends a clear message they too can advance in the organization.

Another benefit to promoting from within that it lowers the risk of the hiring decision. You are already familiar with your employees. You know their strengths, weaknesses, personalities, and performance capabilities. So, promoting internally will usually be less risky than bringing in outsiders.

However, promoting existing employees is not without risk. Some employees simply are not cut out to be supervisors or managers, or to fill other highly skilled roles and promoting them could derail the success they are enjoying currently. For example, a star salesperson might thrive when selling but flounder when asked to manage other salespeople.

Also, hiring from within will require careful conversations with employees who were not promoted, hopefully laying out ways they can improve their performance to be more ready for the next opportunity when it arrives.

Continuing to Look Outside

Shifting more emphasis to internal promotions should not mean giving up on outside hires. The greater job market still offers a much larger pool of candidates. And new employees could provide fresh perspectives and innovative ideas for improving operations or moving in a better strategic direction.

Depending on the position, outside hires also can bring new skills and experience to the role that might lead to more efficient processes and improved financial performance. And recruiting outsiders could lessen resentment among employees who were passed over for a promotion, as well as the unhealthy competition that can arise when employees vie against each other for a position.

On the flip side, you can only know so much about outside candidates. For example, an external applicant’s resumé might look impressive, and the interviews could go great, but the individual’s personality might clash with your culture once work begins. This can lead to conflicts and morale problems that spread throughout a department or even the organization. The person’s actual skill level might not match up to what was presented on the written page.

Be Flexible

The specific job description and circumstances related to an open position should ultimately determine whether you should promote from within or recruit from the outside. Nevertheless, be flexible when choosing the optimal approach. You might be surprised to learn that the perfect candidate is already on the payroll.

HoganTaylor’s Human Capital Strategies Practice

If you have any questions about this content, or if you would like more information about HoganTaylor’s Advisory practice, please contact Jeff Wilkie, Principal and lead of the HoganTaylor Human Capital Strategies (HCS) practice. More information is also available on the Human Capital Strategies page of this website.

INFORMATIONAL PURPOSE ONLY. This content is for informational purposes only. This content does not constitute professional advice and should not be relied upon by you or any third party, including to operate or promote your business, secure financing or capital in any form, obtain any regulatory or governmental approvals, or otherwise be used in connection with procuring services or other benefits from any entity. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult with professional advisors.

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