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Promoting From Within: How to Develop a Killer Succession Plan

The best candidate should always get the job, right? And if this candidate happens to be from another company, so be it. That person is just as deserving of the opportunity as any other — even if that opportunity is a high-level position.

But what if I told you that’s not always true? That is, of course, when it comes to hiring candidates from outside the company.

Besides scoring lower on performance reviews, external hires are 61 percent more likely to be fired than those promoted from within your business. They also earn more than internal promotes — 18 percent more, in fact. 

Should this keep you from hiring outside your company? Not at all.

If you feel like a candidate is the perfect fit for your company, chances are, he or she will add real value to the team. Just understand that you’ll be missing out on all the advantages that often come from an internal promotion.

For one, it can encourage other employees to work that much harder, which can really ramp up productivity, creativity, and innovation. Promoting from within also has a way of lifting morale, promoting loyalty, and…well, the list goes on and on.

The Succession Plan

If you do end up filling a role with an outside candidate, still look for ways to develop and advance existing employees. That way, people will get a clearer picture of what lies ahead for them in your organization — not to mention, lessen the blow when you do bring in an external hire.

How you go about developing talent is entirely up to you, but I suggest you start with the following:

Hire right from the start

Posting an online ad is all well and good, but recruiters, referrals, and professional networks can lead you to just the right talent. Just make sure the hire is suited for more than the role. He or she should fit with your culture and buy into the vision and values of your company as well.

Discuss development

Talk about growth and advancement opportunities with staff — even as early as the onboarding process. Sit down with team members to develop formal career plans, and then revisit these plans regularly to ensure people are progressing as you’d hoped.

Develop leaders company-wide

It can be tempting to develop future leaders only in those department that make a significant impact on your bottom line. But this is shortsighted — and could lead to higher turnover rates within those teams. After all, 29 percent of people cite lack of career opportunities as the main reason for leaving a job. Leave no team out of your succession plan.

Related: What Characteristics Make a Truly Great Employee?

Promise nothing

It’s important to communicate your commitment to promoting people from within — unless, of course, that commitment is just an empty promise. Then, mum’s the word. But if you are committed to nurturing talent, don’t make any guarantees that you’ll only promote internally. That’s even more of a morale killer than hiring an outside candidate.

Develop growth plans for non-leaders

Providing only one way to grow is a mistake many companies make. Not everyone is cut out to be a manager, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have growth opportunities. Make it possible for people to advance in ways other than management. Leverage the expertise of every one of your employees.

Promoting from within is a great way to build and grow your company from the inside out, but there will come a time when your internal talent pool will run dry. When that’s the case, it just makes good business sense to bring in an outside candidate than promote someone ill-equipped for the job.

The team at Staffmark always recommends striking a balance between internal and external hires. If you’d like to discuss how to strike this balance, please feel free to contact us today. We’d be more than happy to sit down and help you decide whether an internal or external hire is right for the role you’re looking to fill.