When a position opens up in your organization, what’s your first reaction? For many recruiters and HR teams, it’s an external search for new talent. But what if your next great hire was already working for you?

You’ve worked hard to hire people with relevant skills who fit into your company culture. Yes, you could you go out and do it again, but why not consider looking at your inside talent first?

You know these people. They’re already working for you and doing great things. And yet they tend to get overlooked when it comes to new opportunities.

Why do we do this?

Sometimes, we love our high performers so much that we can’t imagine them in any other role. Or we can’t imagine anyone else being able to fill their shoes.

With these employee blinders on, the only option we can see is the one that keeps these employees exactly where they are. So instead of offering them new opportunities, we shower them with praise and hope they will stay in the same position forever. But in doing so, we could be missing out on some of the best job candidates ever… the ones we’ve already found!

Shifting your mindset to think inside first can yield impressive results. When you consistently promote internally, some pretty amazing things can happen.

You save time

Conducting an external search with multiple candidates, deadlines, and interview phases takes a significant amount of time. Time that your busy HR team could use for other things.

Filling a job internally is significantly quicker, and onboarding a current employee is exponentially faster. Yes, you’ll have to fill your internal hire’s position, but perhaps you can do that with a qualified insider as well. If you develop repeatable career paths, repeatable and efficient hiring, training, and onboarding processes will follow.

You save money

Research has shown that external hires demand higher salaries, receive lower performance scores and are more likely to leave their new positions than internal hires. This held true even when external hires had more education and more experience than internal hires.

Hiring from within can result in better performance, faster onboarding, and lower turnover. Sounds like a pretty good strategy, doesn’t it?

The potential for cost savings here is huge, but don’t be tempted to skimp on compensation when you promote from within. If you don’t pay your internal hires what they’re worth on the open market, they’ll eventually find someone who will.

You get happier employees

Lack of career path is a major reason why good employees leave.

Instead of just talking about how you love your employees, prove it by promoting internally. Not only does it show how committed you are to their career development and growth, it also gives your team something to work toward. Your staff will naturally be more engaged when they can see exciting options and pathways available to them and an employer who rewards hard work and performance.

What not to do

Hiring from within can have many benefits, but there are a few things you’ll want to avoid when promoting internally.

Playing favorites- If you’re going to solicit internal candidates, you’ll want to make sure you’re holding everyone to the same standards and processes. Be fair and consistent by holding everyone accountable for following proper protocol.

Creating conflict- Healthy competition is good, but when employees are pitted against each other for internal positions, there is the potential for those who aren’t chosen to feel slighted. This can be mitigated with open and positive communication and an atmosphere of teamwork. Offer to meet or chat with candidates after the fact to provide feedback and coaching. This can be a very helpful process for candidates and managers alike.

Making the wrong moves- Be careful not to promote your star performers away from their natural skill sets. Your awesome accountant probably isn’t going to make a super sales manager. That said, pigeonholing your employees isn’t a good idea either. They may have untapped skills that could be a huge benefit to your organization. Being open but strategic will help keep the right people in the right seats.

Think inside the box

Promoting from the ground up is a great way to ensure your team is full of people who know the company, respect the culture, and understand what it’s like to be in lower level positions. This results in a deeper knowledge of how things work, and a better understanding of what processes can and should be improved. It also breeds efficient and empathetic managers, which leads to a happier, more productive workforce.

So, go ahead! Start thinking of your current stars as your future leaders.

Running into challenges with employee engagement, turnover, and retention? At Combined, we’ve got ways to help you address all of these issues and more. Get in touch to find out what working with a true employee benefits consultant feels like.