Developing Internal Candidates

Promoting internal candidates to fill open positions has big advantages. Internal candidates are already familiar with how your company works, and having a regular practice of promoting employees means you increase the chance that your best employees will stick around. In order to ensure that your current employees are qualified to fill your openings, it is important to have a plan in place to develop internal candidates.

Building a Culture of Upward Mobility

Lack of advancement is a big reason people leave jobs. If employees cannot find opportunities at your company, they will look elsewhere. Providing opportunities for promotion means employees will work hard to take on more responsibility at your company rather than seeing their job with you as a stepping stone to their dream job at another company.

Building a culture of upward mobility starts with hiring employees that have the drive to move ahead. It also requires identifying employees with the potential to fill open positions, and keeping an eye out for areas where your employees need additional training.

Identifying Employees with Potential

One big advantage to focusing on internal candidates is that if you cannot find qualified people to fill your current openings, you can create them by developing your current employees. Start this process by identifying your employees with potential.

When offering management training, for example, give non-managers the opportunity to sign up. This will give you a good indication which employees have their eye on moving into management positions. It will also help those employees to start developing their management skills in order to be qualified for future openings.

Use performance management meetings to assess what skills your current employees want to learn. Educational benefits can also help employees afford to improve their skills and qualifications. Consider paying part or all of the cost for the employee to take classes, or, if there is enough interest, provide in-house training.

You can also set up one-on-one training opportunities where employees can learn the basics of other roles within the company. When I worked as HR manager at a distribution center, there was an administrative assistant who supported the distribution manager. She was an excellent employee and had a strong interest in HR, so I started letting her shadow me and taught her some of the basics of HR. Having the chance to learn some HR skills turned her into a qualified candidate. She eventually was promoted to HR assistant when the position opened up a year later.

Establishing Training Programs

Training is not just about teaching new hires how to do their job, it is also about increasing the skills of your current workforce. Set up classes with this in mind. If many of your higher level jobs require computer skills, yet you find this is something that is lacking in your entry level employees, make computer classes a regular part of your training calendar.

Training should go beyond the standard policy topics HR typically handles (e.g. harassment prevention). Set up a schedule of classes throughout the year with an eye toward the qualifications required for promotion. Doing so gives your employees a route to a new job at your company.

About the Author

Stephanie Hammerwold, PHR, is the co-owner of Hammerwold & Pershing and specializes in small business HR support. Stephanie writes as the HR Hammer and is a regular contributor at Blogging4Jobs and The HR Gazette, and she gives presentations on a variety of job search and workplace topics. She specializes in training, employee relations, women’s issues and writing employment policy. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedInTwitter or Facebook.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.
stephanie@hammerwoldpershing.com'

Author: Stephanie Hammerwold

Stephanie Hammerwold, PHR, is the co-owner of Hammerworld & Pershing and specializes in small business HR support. Stephanie writes as the HR Hammer and is a regular contributor at Blogging4Jobs, The HR Gazette and TalentCulture, and she gives presentations on a variety of job search and workplace topics. She specializes in training, employee relations, women’s issues and writing employment policy. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

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