Your ‘gold ticket’ employee might be right under your nose

Finding the right talent for your business is no easy task. Working through the external labour market in order to find your ‘golden ticket’ employee can be incredibly time consuming and costly. Rather than looking externally for a new recruit, why not shift your focus internally and look within your existing team instead?

Promoting from within is a clever little alternative to external recruitment. It makes a lot of sense to invest in your existing talent and can save you a lot of time and money compared to hiring a new team member.

One key advantage is that an existing employee will already be acclimatised to your business culture and ways of working, which means that any teething problems can be kept to a minimum and their focus can be put purely towards fulfilling the responsibilities of their new role.

It also helps to create a good news story within your business by sending a clear message that a job well done won’t go unrecognised whilst giving other employees something to aspire to.

Before taking the approach of promoting from within though, there’s a bit of homework you’ll need to do so that you can consider all of your options and be really clear on what your internal talent looks like.

A great way to do this is to assess your talent via an objective, round table discussion with your management team, discussing all of your employees’ current performance as well as their potential in terms of other roles or responsibilities they could take on within your business in the future. Not only will these conversations give you valuable insight into the capabilities and aspirations of your team but will also provide you with a basis for a succession plan within your business.

The reason we suggest a round table discussion is because it allows for different perspectives and paints a much better holistic picture overall. Having facilitated quite a few of these discussions before, we’ve seen first-hand how different peoples’ opinions can be of the same employee based on their interactions with them. Having a collaborative view will help to avoid any bias and help ensure complete transparency and a fair review process.

Talent review discussions particularly add value when it comes to identifying your superstars and figuring out what you can do to retain them. High-performers often come with an ambitious streak and need to be constantly challenged and stretched in order to stay engaged at work. If you’re not offering this to them, then more than likely, they’ll go elsewhere to find it.

You can kill two birds with one stone here by considering your top talent for new roles that come up in your business or more senior roles that become vacant. Obviously, you’ll need to support any development needs they might have to help bridge the gap and make sure they’re up to speed to take on the new set of responsibilities, but it will be well worth it and the employee will likely relish the challenge and do whatever it takes to succeed.

Getting into the habit of discussing your people from a talent perspective is a smart approach to planning out your workforce, especially as you continue to grow your business. Not only will it help you recognise your high-performers (as well as your poor performers) but it will also help you effectively prepare a succession plan and mitigate any risks associated with what we call “hit by a bus” scenarios, where key roles become unexpectedly vacant (for whatever reason!). It’s also a good opportunity to consider the structure of your workforce and make sure that the right employees are in the right roles in order to produce the best results possible.

So maybe at your next management meeting, take some time out to discuss your people and become more familiar with the individuals that make up your business. It might help solve a whole bunch of problems and not just your current recruitment ones.

Janelle McKenzie and Abiramie Sathiamoorthy are the co-founders of E&I People Solutions. Janelle has a hands-on background in HR, her philosophy is all about providing practical solutions that offer businesses real value. Abiramie has worked with a range of different businesses to set up or enhance their people processes with an end goal to help create high-performing teams.

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