What can businesses learn from the Tory leadership race?by
The race is on among Tory MPs for the new prime minister job opening. What recruitment lessons can employers take from this frenzy when searching for their next leader?
The ink is barely dry on Boris Johnson’s resignation letter, but Tory MPs are already throwing their hats in the ring to become the new prime minister.
Everyone from journalists to bookmakers alike is betting on which of the likely candidates will take his place. It seems that the country’s most public and coveted job interview is well and truly underway.
Unlike with most positions, this job will not be open to external applicants. This creates a rare occasion where most of the competing candidates are well known to the public and each other.
So taking politics out of the equation, what can businesses learn from this?
Sometimes a company’s growth can become stunted as it gets stuck in a cycle of repetitive ideas. Unlike internal candidates, an external hire is outside this thought bubble meaning they can provide some fresh insights.
The pros of external hires
When it comes to hiring for a leadership role, it is common for businesses to look externally to bring in fresh, new talent. Especially if the previous leader has left following a period of scandal or underperformance.
It can be tempting to want to make a clean break in the hope of helping to restore your organisation’s reputation and cut ties with past bad practices. There may be times when this is the best option available, but it can often mean that talented internal candidates don’t get a look in as their skills and experience within the company are overlooked.
There are advantages to making an external hire for an effective leadership role. Someone from the outside can bring innovative ideas and refreshing new approaches.
Sometimes a company’s growth can become stunted as it gets stuck in a cycle of repetitive ideas. Unlike internal candidates, an external hire is outside this thought bubble meaning they can provide some fresh insights. These can hopefully lead to new innovative solutions that support the company’s progression.
If you believe in someone’s attitude and propensity to learn then why not invest in their future at your company?
The pros of internal hires
However, this doesn’t mean that a company should forget about the talent already in their organisation. Many businesses and, indeed, entire sectors are struggling with recruitment in the current candidate-driven market as they desperately try to fill the roles that they have available.
Internal recruitment is both cost and time effective but it also ensures that you are retaining your very best employees. It will often mean a shorter adjustment period and will hopefully speed up the learning curve that often follows a move to a new position.
You also have a level of certainty with an internal hire that is not always ensured with external applicants. An internal hire is already familiar with your company’s procedures and general rules of conduct, so the induction process will be a lot easier.
You have the added benefit of already knowing that they are a good fit for your company culture, and they likely already have a good working relationship with their colleagues.
The benefits to recruiting within can stretch much further than personal development. It sends a strong message to your team that you as an organisation value career progression and provide opportunities for staff to advance and grow at all levels within an organisation.
If you believe in someone’s attitude and propensity to learn then why not invest in their future at your company? A team that rises through the ranks together is one that has developed into a team and is more than just a department of colleagues
It means that they know one another’s strengths and weaknesses and can, together, adapt and evolve to handle bigger tasks collaboratively.
The internal hustle for leadership positions
There can of course be some shortcomings to internal hiring. When several colleagues are all vying for the same role, there will always been someone that is disappointed by their unsuccessful application. Therefore it’s crucial that the channels of communication remain open during the entire recruitment process.
To avoid feelings of resentment, make sure the qualifying criteria are clear to everyone and provide open and transparent feedback to all candidates. It is important that you reiterate to employees who are not successful that they are still valued members of the team. It may help to signpost them to other better suited roles and encourage them to seek future opportunities within the company.
A reminder about resourcing
When hiring internally it is important to remember that your team is not growing but rather adjusting. You will need to have a plan in place to ensure others are not left having to pick up the workload from a newly promoted employee.
This is even more important when those colleagues have been unsuccessful in securing the promotion themselves. Resentment and negative feelings towards a new boss can kill both productivity and morale so, whether recruiting internally or externally, it’s crucial that you make the right decision for your business.
A thought leader on HR and employment law; Kate is the Director of HR Advice and Consultancy at global employment law consultancy, Peninsula.
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