Develop, Don’t Hire: Using Competency Frameworks for Internal Leadership Promotion

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Develop, Don’t Hire: Using Competency Frameworks for Internal Leadership Promotion

Finding and hiring good leaders is one of the most expensive and time-consuming processes undertaken by HR. In addition, hiring a leader who was successful in any role in another company doesn’t necessitate their success inside of your own.

Developing your own leaders from within the organization helps to reduce the total cost of hiring, cut leadership pipeline gaps, and ensures that new managers understand the organization and its culture.

Good leaders are made, not hired. Working to promote and develop promising candidates from within your own ranks will greatly increase the quality of leadership and culture.

Recognizing Potential with Competency Frameworks

Competency frameworks are crucial to recognizing the factors that make up good performance in your organization. Creating one that includes leadership will allow you to recognize leadership potential by looking not at skill sets, but behavior and ability to learn.

However, it’s also important to note that many people will need direct training and development to move into different types of leadership, especially as they make the jump from technical to managerial work.

Make Leaders Accountable

If someone moves from a technical role to a managerial position, and continues to do technical work rather than delegating, they will create a bottleneck and will likely serve as a bad example for their team.

Ensuring that everyone understands what their role is, and their role in recognizing and developing potential leadership candidates, will help you avoid the situation above. This also means ensuring that leaders have the means to offer coaching and mentoring to potentials.

Offer Development Opportunities

While you will often come across fast-rising stars inside your organization, intelligence is never enough to create a good leader. It’s only the bare minimum of what they need.

Offering development opportunities such as training or additional responsibilities will help potential leaders develop and broaden their experience. It will allow employees to improve their EQ before having to bring skills into play as a leader.

Even if you can’t offer these opportunities to everyone, your competency framework will help you to identify the right candidates based on performance, ambition, and behavior.

Formal training can be an option, but assignments and job rotation are the most crucial aspects of development.

Monitor and Measure Success

Strong measurement and management of candidate progress is crucial to ensuring success, both in developing a technical employee for a management role and for promoting management to higher levels.

Tracking behavior and performance based on what is expected in the role they will move into (rather than what they are in now), will give you a good idea of where they are and whether or not they’re ready or need further development before moving up.

While developing leaders from within requires that you have a strong HR and existing leadership structure, it’s significantly more effective than hiring externally. And, by developing leaders, you control their experience, opportunities, and training, which ensures that you can ‘grow your own’ to meet your specific needs.


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