When you're looking to revamp, replace, or broaden your team, leaders are often faced with the same dilemma: do you hire new talent or train someone within the organization?

There are pros and cons to each side of the argument. Hiring new talent means you'll have a fresh perspective. Their experience could shine new light on systems and ways of doing things that would benefit the company, igniting exciting energy into the team.

On the other hand, it's also a gamble. It's costly to hire new talent. It requires hours to sift through resumes, screen applicants, and check references. It's also more of a risk. Even the most lengthy interview process can only reveal so much of their personality and skill set.

The other issue is finding the right person to hire, especially if you're looking for someone with a niche skill set that are in high demand. An experienced developer, software engineer, or designer not only come with six-figure salaries, but often a list of companies vying for their attention.

That leaves you with Plan B: training someone from within your organization. The benefits of this route are clear; they know the company, the staff, and the target market. The only thing missing are skills and experience.

In my experience, choosing someone within your team to develop into a future superstar has typically been a successful investment for everyone. A company improves staff retention and professional growth, while the employee feels valued. That's why it could be worth sending current staff to a post-secondary school or investing in part-time courses in order to develop the skills your company needs.

At RED Academy, we see a majority of our students that have been sent by their employers looking to do just that. Grooming future leaders sustains high productivity, which is why leaders need to develop, reward and retain high-potential professionals.

However, not every case has equated to the same level of success. There's also been times when investing in their training didn't make them into the superstar leader we had hoped. In these cases, it was typically because I overestimated their commitment to the company and passion for the job.  

So instead of making this same mistake, learn from mine and ask yourself these five questions before you call a meeting: 

1. How do they handle pressure?

When deadlines are tight and the stakes are high, a person's ability to handle and excel in these situations is a key indicator they're worth keeping around. This is especially important if you're developing someone into a leadership position. You need someone who can keep their cool and composure, not someone who panics and passes off the work to someone else. 

2. What do their co-workers think of them?

Earning the respect of their managers and peers is half the battle. If the general feedback is that he or she is a team player, takes ownership, and supports their colleagues, then they're worth considering for a bigger role. 

3. How do they react to critical feedback?

This is perhaps one of the most important questions to ask when you're considering candidates. Training and development goes hand-in-hand with critical feedback. How open are they to learning, improving, and applying your evaluation come review-time? 

4. Do they have an entrepreneurial mindset?

An entrepreneur embraces challenges, takes calculated risks, and naturally inspires those around them. Employees with this type of mindset are incredibly valuable. Once they're invested and believe in your company, they'll want the organization to succeed.

This type of passion can't be taught, hired or developed. So if someone possesses it, give them the skills they need to grow within the business.

5. How interested are they in the company?

Do they ask about the company's future growth? Are they inquiring about sales, profits, and losses? Are they organizing staff events and outings? A genuine interest in the company for more than just a personal gain is a trait that you'll want to take notice of. 

Published on: Dec 12, 2017