By Andrea Bankier

If you want the best Leadership talent working for your organisation, you’re better off developing them internally, rather than going to market. According to The Sheffield Leadership Survey, most organisations with leaders in senior roles, were grown from within rather than sourced outside. Furthermore, 65% of the organisations interviewed had some form of succession plan in place, which is somewhat reassuring given today’s turbid job market. Of those who did go to market to find a leader, half used a recruitment partner.

When contrasted with research from overseas, there are some strong consistencies. According to global leadership develop company DDI, when nurtured and grown from within, the success rate for a leader in a role is 3.8 times higher.

At Sheffield, we believe that if you have an internal candidate for a leadership role who is a seven out of ten or better, then you should strongly consider hiring them. The trick is to have a successful professional-development plan in place. Perhaps more importantly it’s important to understand when you should go to the external market. Often firms turn to the external market when:

·        It’s particularly difficult to find talent

·        There are gaps in the critical skills required for the role

·        Innovation and “fresh thinking” is needed

So, if you’re in a leader, ask yourself the following four questions:

1.      Do we have a succession plan in place? It’s best to grow your own. What are you doing to grow yours?

2.     Have we got successors in place for our critical roles, not just the senior team? Sometimes there are roles within the business at an operational level that are absolutely critical, such as key sales roles, key research and product development roles etc. They vary by company and industry. For every person in your organisation, ask yourself, if they left, how easy would it be to carry on?

3.     We’re not just replacement planning, are we? Modern succession planning is not just about “replacement planning”. It’s about developing a pool of leaders that could potentially take on a range of leadership roles.

4.     Do we understand when it’s best to go to the external market? Despite the importance of growing from within, do you know when to go to the market and what to look for?


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