How to make a methodical hiring decision

Hiring takes time, effort and a commitment to investing in the individual recruited


It merits thought and diligence when making the decision to commit to this effort and investment.


When considering a new hire, look around internally first. Is there capacity in the existing team or an opportunity to upgrade team members?


If yes, that should be plan A. It creates a growth path, energizes the team, and improves utilization.


Having done this, if there is still need for more resource(s), here is a checklist which will help ensure a methodical hiring decision

  1. Will there be a payback for the investment in hiring and grooming

  2. Will the work be performed consistently over a period of time

  3. Is the work being done commonplace or organization unique

  4. Is the goal to become a scale player in the skill area

  5. Is sensitive information involved which needs to be kept within organization walls

  6. Will it involve participation in creation of intellectual property

  7. Is it cadre hiring – to bring new ideas and groom future leaders


I. Will there be a payback for the investment in hiring and grooming

Hiring takes time and effort, and then there is training and assimilation.


The output of the hire should ensure a return on these investments. Very likely, this will occur over a period of time.


The first question to ask then is if the duration & quantum of work to be performed is sufficient to pay back the initial investments.


If not, consider getting it done from someone who has the expertise and will perform it for a fee.


II. Will the work be performed consistently over a period of time

Is there sufficient work to keep the resource well utilized?


What will the resource do if there are idle periods? Is there commensurate alternative work which can be assigned in order to keep her / him productive and engaged?


Idleness can not only be a loss of investment but also very demotivating. Is also among the top causes of attrition.


A power plant ran 50 weeks and then shut down two weeks for annual maintenance. An in-house team then worked 24x7 to get it into shape for the next 50 weeks.


Once done, the team had very little work unless there was a rare breakdown. Since this was a specialized team, they could not be repurposed to other work. Attrition was high, and motivation low.


Observing this, the plant executive made an offer. The team could pitch for similar maintenance work for other power plants but ensure that they were available when their employer required them.


Over time, the utilization of the team increased significantly, and they also became a source of revenue for their employer. Motivation rose, attrition dropped.


For tasks which are one off or need to be done occasionally look for required skills outside. It may be better to contract out the work rather than hiring someone to do it. Hire only if resources will be utilized regularly.


III. Is the work being done commonplace or organization unique

Does the work require knowledge and skills which are unique to the organization?


If yes, then there will be a need to train & impart knowledge to enable new hires to become productive.


It is to the advantage of both the organization and the individual that the acquired skills are then utilized over a period of time. Hiring may allow more opportunities to create stickiness and retain the individual(s) over a tenure.


Hire for work which requires knowledge of proprietary organization processes and procedures.


On the other hand, if the skills are not organization unique, also evaluate the option of getting the work done outside.


Someone else may do it more efficiently and with lesser upfront investment & effort on your part.


IT coding and run operations, verification of books of accounts, management of facilities, transportation and logistics management are among the many tasks which are performed on industry standards and available as a service. Avail them.


IV. Is the goal to become a scale player in the skill area

One situation where talent may be recruited for work which can also be contracted out is when the organization has intent, scale, and ability to be as proficient and competitive as any external entity would be.


This is one reason many financial institutions retain and run their data centers in house vs. using external providers, Walmart/Kroger/Albertsons have their own milk bottling plants, and Amazon owns and runs a large part of its delivery network.


V. Is sensitive information involved which needs to be kept within organization walls

Sales pipelines, details of pricing, costing, client and supplier contracts, in-process patents, manufacturing processes. There is a lot of sensitive information which any organization would want to keep within its walls.


The more sensitive the information the higher the likelihood of entrusting it to employees vs. an external entity. Makes a case to hire someone.


What if this sensitive information is required for a task in which the organization does not have the skill or scale?

If trusted external entities are available to perform it – consider that option.


External accountants, auditors and lawyers are examples. So are IT services and BPO companies.


They are often entrusted with very sensitive corporate processes and information. This explains the CCTV’s in the workplace, no USB ports on computers, the inability to use personal email id, and the ban phones with cameras.


VI Will it involve participation in the creation of intellectual property?

Does the work involve creation or use of intellectual property or proprietary processes which give a competitive edge.


If it does, hiring is a better option to retain the skill and knowledge within.


Only when hiring is not sufficient to meet the volume of work, consider bringing contractors on board –as individual contributor who are required to adhere to similar confidentiality and non-compete requirements as payroll employees.


Think of these contractors as proxy employees. To ensure retention of knowledge, expertise and sensitive information, offer long-term contracts.


Those in the IT services industry will relate to this. Rarely, if ever, will their clients outsource the initial builds of custom software.


Peer engagement software for a social media firm, trading platforms of brokerage houses, or claims systems for insurers are intellectual property which define and differentiate their business. Companies want oversight of direction, control on the outcome, retention of knowledge, and of the intellectual property. For this work, it’s always hire first, bring expertise on contract next, and rarely if ever give it out to a third party.


VI. Is it cadre hiring – to bring new ideas and groom future leaders

Young talent brings energy and new ideas. It also relates better to the emerging generation of buyers and decision makers.


Most institutions add to their pool of young hires consistently. Go to any campus, and they are the ones present during the hiring season every year.


It enables them to bring change, be relevant and competitive with times


Also helps build a cadre of future leaders


If that is what you are looking to add to the organization, go hire.


In closing

When work exceeds existing capacity or capability, resources need to be added.


Hiring them is one option.


When making a decision to hire, ask if the work to be performed is sufficient to pay back the initial investment in hiring and assimilation, is it something which will use unique organization processes or will build them, and will the resource be fully utilized


If the answer to these questions is yes, it fortifies the case to hire

Keep swinging!


You might also want to read https://www.valencoinc.com/single-post/retain-your-existing-employees

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