Should firms Promote or Hire?

Recently in the phase of growth, we went into a hiring spree, getting people to support program scalability; and filling up vacant positions. These times are my favorite times of the year as I get to spend time accessing the talents of Kenyan’s out there and for your information, Kenyan has got more talents than you know it, just that these talents are overshadowed by morals and attitude. Sourcing for a perfect fit is a bigger deal for the employer since he could be going against a certain culture and has hopes that the sourced individual would drive more towards the purpose. A bargain to most managers or rather “leads” would be either hire internally “promote” or source externally “recruit”.

Promotion is a good thing though sometimes we as managers fail to get it right when we promote, we fail to support the promoted staff. From my school of thoughts, support the staff to play these new roles before even you promote them, this way when promotion hits they are confident to spin the wheel. New age managers though find it hard to do this since it requires more work and hence they go for shortcuts, recruit internally since the firm’s culture is to grow its leaders. For instance, a new role opens up, you look at individuals in your team and feel no one is equal to the task or many are equal to the task and you decide to set up screening processes to find the right person. That is fine, the end justifies the means, right?

While finding an internal candidate is easier and more efficient, it may become a hindrance to a healthy work environment and can disorient the losers, who will intern perform dismally due to this. Why am I saying so? Many managers are turning promotion decisions into vacancies for people to apply. As much as there is a wider pool to choose your best fit the risk here is often the staff that was probably in line for that promotion will fail to trust their managers and their objectives for hard work leaves them discouraged and angry. I have seen office politics in my early career days while in the marketing industry, the more reason I left for Agri-business. As managers continuously look within their organizations to fill vacancies they should be ready to accept the fact that the aftermaths could be a rise to “destructive tension” in your teams.

My gut feeling is that career-planning and support for direct reports before a “vacancy” has been filled can help reduce competition and tension at work environment. When hiring managers should consider character more than CVs and this I can relate to, I once halted a reports promotional plan, replaced the “vacancy” with a possible best fit and then realized his character wasn’t coherent to the organizational culture. Three months down the line I was hiring for 2 positions as both had left, one to a competitor firm heading the same region we were in and then the new hire due to fraud-related issues.

I don’t advise against this but as a manager, be there to support the whole team as always, create time to understand the little conflict that could arise after any competitive process. For employees looking for such growth, you should do understand that in any competitive process there is a possibility that you might not win, and make sure not to undermine your relationships with colleagues. Keep working hard and encourage your teams to since hardship is a blessing when it spurs effort and development; ease is a curse when it increases complacency and self-indulgence. Managers let’s be 100% human at the workplaces, it’s about treating people as humans, not as numbers, Be kind, praise more than criticize and you might change somebody’s life and make a huge positive difference to the line of work.

© Sabwa John Milton, 2018

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