How To Know If You Should Promote From Within Or Hire From The Outside
You have grown your staff of pet sitters and dog walkers, but now you need internal back-office support. Now what? You’re probably debating on how to hire and thinking that you’ll just pull one of your pet sitters/dog walkers out of the field, that’s already working for you, and promote from within as an administrative assistant.
But is that really the best way to hire? Today we’re going to compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of promoting from within versus hiring from the outside.
A really good book on this topic that I highly recommend is Powerful: Building A Culture of Freedom & Responsibility. Check it out! 🙂
Defining The Job Duties
Before we can start thinking about hiring an office assistant, we first need to pinpoint exactly what duties this person would be taking over from you. From there, we can then consider who would be right for the job.
One of the best ways to do this is to create a perfect “avatar” in your head, which essentially outlines exactly the type of person that you want to hire. Think about these details when creating your avatar:
- Who are they?
- Where are they in life?
- What are their skillsets?
- How many hours are they looking for?
- How much work are they looking for?
- Do they work in the office? Or remote?
Once we have our avatar clearly defined, the next step is to create a job description based on our avatar and the job duties that we identified. Don’t just make one description – we will want to make a few different job descriptions to test what actually is working and what isn’t.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t going to be a one-time thing. You will have to hire for this position again and again and again. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find the perfect person that works for you for a year, but the key is to think about making this an easily replicated process so we don’t have to continually invest our own time and energy.
Are You Actually Ready To Hire?
Before you start hiring, it is absolutely critical that you have workflows and SOP’s (that’s standard operating procedures) created so that your new hire has guidelines and processes to follow. It needs to be all written out because employees can’t read our minds (as much as we would like them too!). The key is to transfer all of the valuable knowledge in your head to paper so that anybody can read it and follow the procedures step-by-step.
For help with this, consider reaching out to Liz Illg, a good friend of mine and a master at creating workflows/SOP’s.
Consider & Evaluate Backgrounds of People On The Team
Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to promote from within, I am totally on-board with that. The point I’m trying to make is that we need to carefully consider why you are choosing to promote from within versus hiring from the outside. What might be the easier choice, may not always be the best choice for your business.
Do you have a person on your team that just recently graduated from school and is very eager to get started in the workforce? Or maybe the employee you have in mind is someone that has been bouncing from job-to-job, is unfocused, and all over the place.
The truth is that most of the time, dog walkers & pet sitters are not a good fit for administrative assistants. They do a super job in the field, but that doesn’t always translate to the office.
We also have to carefully consider if we want to take them away from the excellent job they are doing as a pet sitter/dog walker. Or, maybe they are doing such a great job in the field, and the office is a better work environment for them.
The only way to really know is to create a series of assessments, also known as a “hiring gauntlet,” to see what their real skills are. Maybe they have a background in administrative work? Or maybe they just really understand what it takes to stay organized?
Also think about if this person is strictly going to follow directions, or if they can take initiative. Are they going to be able to pick up whatever you throw at them and run with it, or do you have to hold their hand? Are they a forward thinker and a go-getter?
I know it’s a lot, but all of these things are so important to consider 🙂
As business owners, it’s easy to get into the mindset that we want to promote from within because we love our staff! However, we also have to have careful consideration when it comes to evaluating skill sets and how the transition would affect the business by shifting the employee’s duties from one “department” to another. The key is to make this determination from a scientific mindset, not an emotional one.