Why Developing Leaders From Within Is The Best Hiring Tactic


Brian Scudamore

August 4, 2016

Anyone involved in hiring and recruitment knows that you can spend a ton of time combing through resumes and interviewing, only to get it wrong. Two weeks in, you realize the newbie isn’t as qualified as you thought or he doesn’t gel with company culture. This doesn’t just waste time, it wastes money, too.

I’m here to tell you how to find a leader who is guaranteed to be awesome right off the bat: hire from within.

Promoting your employees into leadership positions is not only easier on your budget and HR department, it’s a smart business move. Companies known for developing and empowering their people, like IBM, have real staying power.

So stop with the FOMO – you’re not missing anything out there. Your next great leader already works for you. Here’s why.

Success Springs Internal

Internal hiring means you know who’s coming to dinner. You’ve already seen that Fred in analytics is a project managing machine. An external candidate may seem like an exciting blank slate, but they may bring problems that can’t be easily solved. Stats even suggest that companies that rely on external hires for management positions have double the turnover of companies who focus on internal promotion.

Internal promotions are also a positive feedback loop. Think about it: the people who make your company culture thrive are rewarded with career advancement. In turn, they reinforce your core values with other employees. As people see their peers promoted, they aspire for the same reward and became more engaged. Morale is boosted all around.

Maybe most importantly, though, people see there is advancement and are encouraged to stay with you. This is vital to know since most Millennials place growth opportunities at the top of their career priorities, and by 2020, these keeners will make up half of the workforce.

Let Leaders Grow

Our head of employee recruitment started in the call center. The leader of our commercial sales team started working on the junk trucks out of college. Employees at O2E Brands can move from entry-level to leadership positions because we don’t pigeonhole people into one role.

Instead, we strive to reward hustle and foster leadership. Our People Team offers employees Individual Development Program (IDP), which offers career development for the advancement-minded. There’s budget set aside for classes and training that might help someone become even better at their job, and we encourage internal mentorship opportunities between senior and junior staff.

Of course, to advance, you have to get hired first. To suss out potential leaders during the hiring process, we use an informal hiring hack called the Beer and Barbecue Test. It’s two simple questions: Would I grab a beer with this person? Would this person thrive during a staff social event, like a barbecue? More often than not, if the answer is “yes” they have the potential to be a future team leader and have huge impact at our company.

Keys To Improving Leadership Communication

Develop Leaders All Day, Err’ry Day

Nike has famously said it’s a marketing company that happens to sell shoes. I like to think we are in the business of cultivating leaders – we just happen to remove junk, too.

This mentality ensures that leadership is prioritized and seen as a skill that can be practiced and improved. Whether our people are on a management track or not, we give staff a chance to lead our daily huddle (a company-wide meeting), match them with expert mentors, or provide skill improvement sessions in everything from public speaking to improv.

Whether it’s crafting the latest Air Jordans or offering to paint homes in one day, what you produce or sell won’t define your company’s success. What will is whether you are recognizing and growing leaders from within.


This article was written by Brian Scudamore from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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