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What’s the point in appointing?

One of my big pet peeves in the Talent Management world is when organizations go about ‘appointing’ people into roles. I am not referring to situations where an organization has identified a potential successor for a senior level role like COO, CFO, VP of Dept., etc. Identifying that type of talent early on and then managing it through a rigorous talent development process makes total sense. Reality is that when you do it this way, (identify potential successors and ensure they are given the opportunity to prove themselves on various assignments), you are in fact applying an objective process, which, if managed correctly, will result in a logical incumbent being appointed.

What I am getting at is when companies of a certain size, typically in the 75+ person range and that have identified positions and levels, simply go about and “appoint” people into roles. I have seen far too often organizations that develop all kinds of internal posting policies and internal recruiting systems and then choose to ignore these at their own convenience and ‘select’ whomever they want for the role at hand. My question is always why? Why? Why? Why would you do this? What purpose does it serve? Who or what benefits when you do this?

pointMy thinking is this, if you have enough faith in your hiring system, including faith in the abilities of your recruiters and hiring managers, than there simply is no compelling reason to do this. Your managers and recruiters should be able to properly identify the job requirements and qualifications and then prepare a proper performance profile with effective BDI questions. Because the hiring manager (and recruiter) knows the job so well, they can also prepare a proper interview scoring guide and thus select the right candidate – right? It stands to reason that at the end of the day, if the candidate that you thought was in fact the best, (i.e. the one you wanted to appoint) then they will be the one that best answers the questions and gets the job anyway.

Now, I know some of you will argue against this position and I have heard all the arguments against having an internal posting and internal competition for all positions:

1. It takes too long
2. We already know who we want anyway, why do this?
3. We have a business to run, why do we have to waste time doing this?
4. Insert other whiny response/retort here

As I said, I have heard them all and none of them hold weight. My response to many a department head or executive is often something like:

1. Is reducing turnover important to you?
2. Does having to replace competent, up and coming staff hurt your bottom line?
3. Is employee engagement and satisfaction important to the health of the organization?
4. Really, you can’t post-pone appointing someone and take 2-3 days to put up a posting and interview the most qualified candidates?
5. Are you confident that none of the ‘selection criteria’ being used to pick the appointee are discriminatory in nature (towards other groups) or aren’t having an adverse effect?
6. Are you aware of the knowledge, skills and abilities of all employees in the organization?

At the very least, the last two always give pause for thought. My point is that you don’t know all the answers when you appoint. Career growth and opportunity are almost always at the top of any type of employee survey as retention factors. Lack of opportunities, biased thinking, failure to follow policy and processes are always cited in exit surveys as reasons why employees leave. Knowing that you may not be as gripped in on the knowledge, skills and abilities of ALL the employees in the organization as you think you are, coupled with the fact that by having an internal competition you may be improving retention and reducing potential discriminatory behavior, it begs the question – why wouldn’t you post for the position? Better yet, knowing all these risk factors, what REALLY is the point in appointing someone into a role? What do you hope to have gained?  As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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