I wrote about the benefits of hiring from outside in a previous blog post, but there are also times when doing so is a really bad idea.
This happens for the following reasons:
“Industry Standards” are fine and dandy, but they’re really more of guidelines. Each company has their own variation on them—and some eschew them entirely. Why? For a variety of reasons, but mostly because the “standard” just doesn’t sync with the business.
One risk of bringing in a new consultant, is that you get someone utterly convinced that the industry standard is the only way to go. If you’re trying to make improvements to your organization, then this may be a good thing. But if he doesn’t take the time to learn how your office actually works before trying to fix it, then you may end up placing your business in an even more awkward position.
“Adjustment Periods” Slow Everything Down
A piece of programmer wisdom states that adding more people to a team in mid-project may end up slowing things down instead of speeding them up. This is because someone has to stop working in order to train the new guy, and since people learn at different rates (and because tasks and technologies vary so widely), training time is nearly impossible to accurately predict—even when switching projects within the same company.
Imagine how much more difficult it would be for a new hire, who has to assimilate training materials, company procedures, and team culture, all while the project clock is ticking!
If your organization is hiring to replace, there is going to be a significant impact on morale. If the employee being replaced is well-liked, the impact will be negative. If the new hire is taking over for an ineffective employee, the team will probably be very relieved.
Whatever the case, there is going to be a sort of “build up” period for the team to get to know this new hire. If it’s a leadership position, they’re going to be watching for leadership qualities, behavior under pressure, and the willingness to get his hands dirty with mundane tasks. Leaders that don’t measure up may wind up in a worse position than their predecessor.
Promoting from inside (or finding an ad hoc leader) still needs a bit of an adjustment, but by and large it sidesteps many of the problems that hiring from outside encounters, in addition to raising employee morale by demonstrating that there is a viable career path inside the organization.
Image credit, Flickr, Chad Hunter