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Should You Hire Or Train Talent?

Which is a better investment: hiring experienced talent, or training existing employees?

Good people are hard to find, and businesses often wrestle with difficult decisions about where to invest their time and resources regarding their employees.

The modern workplace is constantly evolving and requires talented employees to adapt to change, but when that change outpaces a company’s current workforce, they’re faced with the following challenge: Should they focus on recruiting candidates who already have experience, or train their current workforce to fill these roles?

Should You Hire Or Train Talent?

Which is a better investment: hiring experienced talent, or training existing employees? #HR… Click To Tweet

There is no easy answer to this question, as the decision often comes down to two factors: time and money. How quickly do you need the employee to develop the experience/expertise? Does your company have a training and development program in place? How much would your company need to invest in the employee to get him or her up to speed?

Pros of hiring talent

In theory, hiring an employee who already has the experience your company is looking for is the easiest and fastest solution to filling an open position. Not only should the experienced employee be able to “fast-forward” through ramp-up period every new employee goes through learning a new job, but they bring with them instant equity in terms of their expertise in their chosen field. Plus, an experienced employee will have a history of navigating the nuances of the professional world and will have developed their own methods for resolving problems that typically arise in the workplace.

Cons of hiring talent

As most hiring managers will tell you, however,  bringing on a new team member is rarely such a seamless process. Experienced employees will have had time to fall into set habits and behaviors, not all of which may be compatible with their new team or the brand image your company wants to project. (See the old adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”) At the end of the day, experience alone is simply not a reliable gauge for determining if a candidate will fit into your company culture.

Experience alone is not a reliable gauge for determining if a candidate will fit into your company… Click To Tweet

Learn more about the importance of cultural fit: How To Hire For Cultural Fit >>

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The most significant hurdle when it comes to hiring talent is, of course, budget. The cost of hiring a new employee can range anywhere from 30 to 150 percent of an employee’s salary, with more experienced employees often requiring a more compensation and/or richer benefits to make the move to a new company. Companies that can’t afford to pay these premiums may find themselves priced out of the market for the most experienced employees unless they can find other ways to stand out from the competition.

Get ideas on how to stand out to top talent: HR Tailgate Recap: Competing For Top Talent >>

Pros of training talent

If the cost of hiring an experienced job candidate is prohibitive, training existing employees to meet the future needs of your company is a great option. One of the more obvious benefits is that existing employees are a known quantity. They will have likely have already adapted to and embraced your business’s culture, and you’ll have had time to understand their work ethic, habits, abilities and – most importantly – capacity for and interest in learning new skills. Training an existing employee also means that your company can forego bringing them up to speed on the company and workplace tempo, and focus the training entirely on the subject matter you want them to learn. In essence, it’s sometimes a better bet to train existing talent than to gamble on an unknown candidate.

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Learn more about the pros of training talent: Succession Planning Is Key To Small-Business Longevity >>

Cons of training talent

One of the biggest drawbacks to training talent is the resources your company will have to dedicate to doing so. If you don’t have someone in-house who can provide the necessary training, you may need to pay for him or her to take training courses outside your organization (and any tuition, transportation and other associated costs). If you do have an internal expert who can provide the training, you’re sacrificing the work the trainer could otherwise be doing while they’re training the other employee, which means productivity may take a hit until the training employee can be brought up to speed.

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To succeed at talent management, you must blend both strategies

Of course, the ideal talent management strategy incorporates both hiring and training talent, allowing your company to both build a deep bench of up-and-coming talent while also bringing in new “star” players to quickly level-up the amount of skill your team can tap into.

The key to balancing both strategies is to know which positions call for which approach, and as well as how long you have to acquire the talent you need. If you can wait for a promising employee (or group of employees) to develop the required experience/expertise to fill a role, it may make sense to do so rather than expending the effort and resources to recruit an expert who may or may not be a good fit for your organization’s culture.  If you need to make a big impact or fill a need quickly (and have the budget it may take to attract top talent), it may make more sense to look outside your organization.

Which talent management strategy works best for your business? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Get the best of all worlds when you partner with a PEO for talent management!

As one of the nation’s top privately held professional employer organizations (PEO), G&A Partners is able to combine advanced cloud-based technology with experienced recruitment specialists to deliver both project-based and continuous recruitment services. Whether you need to quickly staff an entire department or conduct a careful search for just one key position, we can help you recruit the best possible talent for your business.

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