Top Three Things to Consider Before Recruiting Externally
If you're a leader for HR within your company, you'll be well aware of the process when you have an upcoming vacancy on your team - be it from somebody moving upward in the ranks, a colleague taking maternity leave or a staff member upping sticks. Skilled and experienced candidates are in high demand, and there's always the inherent risk that a new hire may not work out. You know it's important to act quickly, so it can be tempting to hop straight onto the job boards or start reaching out to agencies to get it advertised. However, there are a number of effective ways to save your department the effort of job searching; saving your company money and impressing the powers that be. Before you pick up the phone or open a browser tab to load up the job boards, be sure to check this list to make sure you've got every angle covered before seeking to recruit.
If your upcoming vacancy is a managerial position, your first port of call should always be the team members directly reporting to the staff member that's leaving. Depending on how long they've been working for the company, it is very likely that these employees will have an inside-out knowledge of the department, and a good grasp of the responsibilities that lie with the vacant position enabling them to hit the ground running from their first day in the role. In addition to this, long serving team members may have informed, front-line ideas about how to drive your business forward by increasing sales or efficiency that may have been overlooked due to their rank or pay grade.
Promoting internally has a well documented list of benefits to your business. According to a 2004 – 2009 study by Matthew Bidwell, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvannia's Wharton School; workers promoted into jobs have significantly better performance for the first two years than workers hired into similar jobs and lower rates of voluntary and involuntary exit. In addition to this, external hires were found to be paid 18% more on average than internal promotions in the same jobs, while also being 61% more likely to be fired further down the line (Bidwell, M (2011) - Paying More to Get Less: The Effects of External Hiring versus Internal Mobility).
Promotion of existing staff has a significant impact on morale, proving to your team that the possibility of upward mobility wasn't just an empty promise made at the point of their applications. As a result, it can be a strong driver of productivity within your teams – incentivising staff to work harder and take greater initiative in order to get themselves noticed. In short, promoting from within should always be the first thing you consider before making a new hire.
This will only be applicable to companies with multiple locations, but for lower level roles (and upward!) it is also highly worthwhile to ensure the vacancy is well known about to any internal staff that may be open to relocation. While the UK does not tend to record these statistics, in the US the average tenure for workers aged 25 to 34 is only 2.8 years (Hope, K (2017) – BBC News), and relocation is a common reason people seek to depart with their jobs. A good HR manager will be relatively familiar with the movements of their staff, but it is impossible to know the full intentions and life-goals of individual team members in the future without occasionally checking in. Without taking this step, you could end up filling your vacancy with a new hire only to have an existing staff member accept another job in that location due to non-work-related changes in their life. It may sound like a long shot, but in my career I have definitely seen this happen more than once. It only takes five minutes to send a group email or pop a sign up on a noticeboard, making this a very easy base to cover. Always update with your existing staff – you might be pleasantly surprised!
3. Divide Responsibilities
Another option is to take a look at the breakdown of responsibilities covered by your vacancy and delegate them outwards to the rest of the team. Tied in heavily with my earlier point about promoting internally; allowing the rest of your team to display their showcase of skills for extra credit can provide a significant boost to morale and really make your employees feel that their skills are acknowledged and appreciated, as long as they are compensated for the additional workload. According to an article by a 2015 Gallup article by Peter Flade, Jim Asplund and Gwen Elliot, employees who feel they get to use the best strengths and abilities at work are 15% less likely to quit their job, improving staff retention and saving employers the hassle of hiring further down the line (Flade, P, Asplund, J and Elliot, G (2015), “Employees Who Use Their Strengths Outperform Those Who Don't”).
This creates a perfect opportunity to go back through your existing workforce's CVs, with an eye out for skills that may have been overlooked in their current roles. Perhaps your Project Manager has a First-Class degree in Communications, or your Receptionist could be AAT Qualified from a previous job. Approaching team members personally about advancement regarding their existing skill set is highly complimentary, and proves to them that they are more than just numbers to your business. Delegating like this could additionally open up opportunities to restructure and create upward mobility for staff in the future, enhancing efficiency and productivity in the long run. If carefully planned and executed, this move could be highly beneficial to your business and your employees.
In summary, there are a number of steps that you can take within your organisation to fill a vacancy without needing to resort to the pressure of hiring externally. With the added benefits of increased staff retention, improved morale and cost-effectiveness, there is no reason not to take a look at alternative internal strategies before advertising the role. The best HR Managers always think outside the box, and I hope that this article has provided some ideas to help your organisation's recruitment strategy be the best that it can be.
Rising Sun Careers Consultancy Ltd provides an alternative strategy to assist with your recruitment needs, at a highly competitive fixed rate that leaves the decision making power completely in your hands. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your business today.