It is no secret by now that, with the disruption of COVID-19, the challenge of talent acquisition has become an even trickier space to negotiate than usual.
Coupled with the heightened need for a bright, capable workforce to help the company navigate through the pandemic, this presents a major problem.
The instinctual reaction for many organisations is to attempt at streamlining and optimising the acquisition pipeline in order to more effectively attract and onboard candidates.
However, focusing efforts on developing and hiring talent internally could be the answer to this conundrum.
Not only could this act as a more reliable and manageable course of action amidst the current disruption, but crucially, it may also come at much lower cost.
To obtain a clearer picture as to how internal recruitment works on a practical level and what the advantages of it are, we spoke to author and HRD Thought Leader Mervyn Dinnen.
First, Dinnen commented on the importance of establishing a company infrastructure whereby hiring from within is simply an extension of the organisation’s development efforts.
He describes this as an ‘internal mobility programme’ and points out that this in itself is a way to indirectly bolster external recruitment efforts.
“The number one reason that people join and stay with a business is having the opportunity to grow and develop,” he said, noting that almost 2/3 of employees say it is easier to find a new role in a different company than with their current employer.
And Dinnen’s view is not unfounded. One study published by Deloitte earlier this year found that nearly half (47%) of employee respondents cited promotion and job advancement as the most effective retention initiative for millennial and generation Y workers
What’s more, a third (33%) of executive respondents echoed this view.
Next, Dinnen goes on to raise employee engagement as a key component of the internal recruitment conversation.
“Employees hired internally are likely to be more engaged, stronger ambassadors and ready to be productive straight away,” he said.
“There will be no need for a complete onboarding process as the candidate will already be familiar with the business and expectations.”
This is crucial for many organisations as traditional onboarding can be a significant expense. One report even found that that average cost of hiring an employee exceeds $4,000.
In fact, the element of cost effectiveness is a pivotal one on several fronts. Studies also suggest that the average cost of a ‘bad’ hire can be as much as $11,000 in ‘small’ businesses and even as much as $24,000 in ‘large’ businesses.
Furthermore, the link between effective onboarding and employee engagement could hardly be clearer.
This reflects clearly in a study conducted by BambooHR in 2019. It found that employees who were onboarded effectively were 18 times more likely to feel highly committed to the organisation.
The study also found that such individuals were 30% more likely to feel strongly integrated into their workplace culture and have high job satisfaction.
With this being the case, organisations can feel confident that these effects will be achieved at lower cost and labour through a process of internal hiring.
But aside from having an effect on peripheral factors such as cost effectiveness and engagement, there is scope to suggest that internal recruitment is simply a superior approach when it comes to finding the right talent.
“Internal hiring can help ease talent and skill shortages and save acquisition staff from chasing the perfect, elusive candidates externally,” said Dinnen.
This is of course a very real and immediate issue facing virtually all employers, with 41% of one study’s respondents naming ‘candidates lacking the right technical skills’ as a key challenge.
What’s more, the same study found that, among the surveyed employers, 49% cited internal hiring or upskilling as their primary solution.
Dinnen goes on to provide some baseline guidance as to how employers can begin to adopt this strategy.
“All businesses should ensure that managers and leaders have visibility of all the skills, competencies and capabilities within the organisation to enable better talent mapping,” he said.
“Internal appointments should still go through a recruitment process, though it needs to be handled sensitively as a rejection will probably be followed with the unsuccessful employee looking to leave, whilst other workers may be deterred from applying internally and look elsewhere.”
All of this being said, it should still be noted that external hiring has its advantages and can be utilised in a strategic manner in particular scenarios.
Dinnen concludes his analysis by offering an overview of how this could be beneficial, in addition to explaining the potential limitations of it.
Some organisations like to hire externally to bring fresh perspectives, ideas and thinking into their business,” he said.
However, it is important to keep in mind the damage that could be done to a team’s morale and cohesion if a new hire joins and leaves in a short space of time, something which is unlikely to happen with an internal transfer.”
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