Internal Recruiting & Workforce Planning

Internal Hiring: A Clever Recruitment Strategy in a Competitive Job Market

The numbers are in: It is a jobseeker’s economy.

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Recent data released by the U.S. Department of Labor show that there are now more jobs available than there are skilled workers to fill them. And no matter what your business does, what you sell, or where you work, that’s a recruitment challenge.

Scrambling to fill a critical position (especially in a highly competitive market) can result in hiring the wrong person for the job—causing your organization’s costs to surge. The alternative? Look within your own organization for the perfect candidate. Internal hiring is a strong complementary strategy to external recruitment, and it’s how you’re going to quickly fill those critical, yet vacant, roles in your organization.

Recruit from Within: Search and Assess Your Organization’s Talent Pools

In this rapidly expanding economy, smart HR organizations need to learn to identify, develop, and recruit internal talent for those vacant roles. To do that, organizations need a deep understanding of their current—and projected future—workforce gaps in order to meet current talent needs and more accurately anticipate future needs.

Review your organization’s talent profiles regularly, and experiment with “what-if” workforce scenario modeling if you have the talent management tools to do so. The key is to be able to easily identify both the top performers and those with high potential. Identify individuals who can fill a role immediately and those who are on track to stepping into future key positions.

Remember: Top performers don’t necessarily need to move up—they can also make lateral moves based on business needs. It’s much more cost-effective to develop and retain an existing employee than it is to recruit new talent from an increasingly competitive talent market.

This strategy allows you to hire from within, boosting retention rates, maintaining company culture, and keeping valuable core knowledge and skills in-house while supporting employee career progression.

Involve Your People in Their Own Development to Advance the Internal Hiring Process

An integral aspect of an employee’s development strategy is engaging each one in an ongoing dialogue about  career pathways and the skills  needed to help get him or her into the desired role.

Experts identify skills mismatch as a leading cause of vacant roles. Technological advancements are transforming the in-demand skills and roles within the job market, as leading organizations pivot to adjust to such a dynamic workforce landscape. But, with some careful planning and the right development path, your existing employees can train to fill their skill gaps and move into open roles in the moment of need.

Skills alignment is a driving force behind the strategy of hiring from within; going beyond simply identifying high-performing, high-potential individuals. And it’s critical that they also feel empowered about their own skills development and career management.

Discover where your people want to go by encouraging them and their managers to discuss their desired career paths in regular, ongoing one-on-one meetings. This allows managers to assign learning and development goals and provide coaching at the right time to prepare internal candidates for the next step in their career. These check-ins are an integral part of the process—your people need support, coaching, and skills development so that they’re ready when you have to fill a vacant, critical role.

By engaging them in the development process, you can minimize the risk of external recruiters poaching your people because you know what matters to the employee and are actively helping them get to where they want to be.

Build a Legacy of Leaders from Within

Internal recruitment is an ongoing process and building an internal talent pipeline will almost certainly improve leadership bench strength and increase retention. In helping your people to learn new, directly applicable skills to perform at higher levels, your organization can also experience an increase in performance outcomes at all levels.

This is especially noteworthy during employee transition phases. While it is much less likely that an employee will devote his or her entire career to only one company, organizations that create opportunities for employees to explore new roles have a much higher chance of long-term retention.

Consider initiatives such as formal mentorship programs, which allow employees to explore and pursue their personal interests or mentor new hires to share their core knowledge. Determine your level of success by reviewing your ratio of internal vs. external hires to see how effective your succession and development programs are, and whether you need to make any adjustments.

Retain, Develop, and Support Your People in a Competitive Market

Rapidly changing business conditions can’t get in the way of your organization’s success. And organizations that are confident in their talent development strategies and workforce succession plans know that the war for talent won’t suspend their business goals.

Your people are your organization’s greatest asset. You’ve spent time, energy, capital, and other valuable resources to find and hire them. And, in this highly competitive market, smart business leaders will continue to leverage internal hiring as a key tactic in their greater recruitment strategy.

Anita BownessAnita Bowness, is the Principal Product Manager, Customer Success for Saba Software. As the Global Practice Leader in Saba’s Strategic Services group, Anita draws on over 20 years’ experience in consulting and professional services to help HR leaders recruit, engage, develop and retain their talent. Anita has been published in HR Daily Advisor and HRO Today, featured in an interview on BBC Capital and presented at DisruptHR Ottawa and Halogen TalentSpace Live. Although she’s worked with hundreds of organizations from IT to healthcare, Anita never loses sight of what HR is really about: people. Anita loves helping organizations manage performance so people are more engaged, happier and productive.