Redeploying employees: the best people may already work for you

You may have the right people for those hard-to-recruit-for roles already working in your business. Here's how redeploying employees can give you a competitive advantage.

Are your employees in the right roles? This will be the most important question for businesses in the near future, according to new research released by global recruitment firm, Alexander Mann Solutions. In a survey of 3,000 senior HR professionals, the firm found that one in four senior HR professionals believe that improving lateral hiring internally will serve as a company’s best weapon for talent retention in the immediate future.

These statistics increase significantly when considering sectors which are already experiencing skills shortages. For sectors such as investment banking, energy, and healthcare, where creating effective talent pipelines is more challenging, figures rise to 36 per cent, 50 per cent and 86 per cent respectively.

The findings mirror a recent report by PwC, Talent Mobility 2020, which revealed that only 30 per cent of CEOs have the talent they need to fulfil their future growth ambitions, and in their efforts to address the talent challenge, leaders are increasingly choosing to integrate HR, talent and succession planning, and internal mobility programmes.

“With very high attrition rates in many regions, retaining talent has become a priority for senior HR professionals and CEOs alike. However, it is certainly positive to see that CEOs are recognising that their existing pipelines are not sufficient enough to fulfil their future growth plans and are reviewing how lateral hiring fits within wider talent and succession plans,” says Lisa Forrest, global head of internal talent acquisition at Alexander Mann Solutions. “When you consider the highly-competitive, globalised landscape in which we operate, effective internal mobility strategies must be not only proactive, but also aligned with business objectives and the wider HR function, if they are to provide genuinely measurable success.”

The benefits of redeploying employees

While there may be some reluctance to let employees go from specific managers or departments, redeploying individuals, either to different regions or business areas, is one way to really gain an advantage over the competition, Forrest adds.

“The opportunity to move laterally within an organisation is now recognised as a key element in attracting, engaging and retaining talent and according to PwC this is particularly true of the millennial generation with 71 per cent revealing that they want- and expect – the opportunity to work internationally in their careers.”

She believes that the time for businesses to act is now. “It’s crucial that organisations acknowledge that employees will, at some point, look for a change in their career. When they reach this point, HR professionals need to be able to consider opportunities to redeploy them within the organisation, as to preventing top talent from migrating to another employer. The use of predictive analytics, which uses algorithms to pre-empt such desires to move, can be particularly effective in identifying potential new roles that even the most diligent human recruiter might overlook.”

Home-grown talent and geographical barriers

Many digital agencies in particular are now choosing to focus on producing their own “home grown” talent. This may be through hiring someone who fits culturally, ticks plenty of boxes but is perhaps a little rough around the edges skills wise, and then providing them with ample time to self-develop. This can be through reading the latest articles online, sending them to industry conferences and hosting internal training sessions. Those who are able to educate themselves about a little known industry are incredibly valuable, and they’ll appreciate the chance to learn and grow.

But for job roles where it’s just too hard to find a perfect fit, there’s nothing wrong with looking beyond your backyard. If looking to secure the very best, those in competitive industries cannot afford to be too picky, says Jeff Ellman, co-founder of UrbanBound. He believes that in our hyperconnected world, being restricted by geography is an outdated mode of thinking that may be holding businesses back.

“A company’s best talent can’t always be found in its backyard. Recruiters are currently faced with the challenge of finding talent with specialised skills and experience. That’s why today, more and more companies are taking on a global mindset when it comes to recruiting and hiring to cast the widest net possible. To help hone in on these perfect candidates and convince them to accept job offers, recruiters are relying on strong relocation strategies,” he says.

“A strong relocating benefit allows recruiters to search for talent outside of their region and ‘tips the scale’ for candidates who may have previously been wary about the headache of moving. Strong relocation strategies are a win-win for both recruiters and employees. Companies are able to acquire the best talent and provide employees with the support to execute a seamless move.”

“A company’s relocation benefit can make or break a signing deal, so it’s important for companies to have all the tools necessary to know they can snag top talent to fill their open positions.”

Look at your own networks

Our social and professional networks are filled with people who are educated and skilled, but for some reason they never cross our minds. Rachel Carrell, CEO of Koru Kids, is a strong advocate of looking close to home before expanding your search. “Almost without exception the best people came via my own social networks. They weren’t friends – that can be risky – but rather friends of acquaintances or vice versa. It didn’t take long to find them; just a few emails and messages on Facebook, which I use for recruiting a lot,” she says. “Plus, of course, using your own social networks to recruit is free! That’s especially important when you’re a start-up.”

The culture fit

Will Craig, MD of Digital Impact, believes that the importance of culture in the modern workplace should not be underestimated. “The single toughest challenge to a business’ culture is staffing. Recruit the right people and you’ll find your workplace stronger than ever; recruit the wrong people and you risk poisoning the well. However, as anyone who’s ever had to hire for a position knows, picking the diamonds from the rough is far from easy,” he says. But when redeploying employees that fit the company culture when in one department and in one role, you may need to reassess the situation.

According to Craig, while you should never compromise on the quality of your hires, there’s one small tweak you can make to help find the gems out there: prioritise passion, culture and talent over experience, and this applies just as much to employees you’re looking to redeploy in new roles.

“It’s really easy to chase people who are already equipped to do the job right now. Picking up someone super experienced might help you now, but if they aren’t right for the company it’ll come to harm you later,” he adds. Ignoring a bad personality and hiring for experience risks tainting the rest of your staff and disrupting the culture you’ve worked to create when it comes to new hires. It’s very probable that existing employees may do the same in a different job role with different expectations. “The simple version is this: make sure you pick the right person, not just the right CV.”

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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