Lateral hiring holds the key: Satya D. Sinha
Getting people with the right skill sets for the business as well as developing an internal pipeline to deliver to the new market dynamics
The talent dynamics are changing; organizations are emphasizing upon hiring highly competitive people with niche skills and at the same time, retaining and developing their internal pipeline. Innovation is the key differentiator. With highly competitive markets, organizations have a high demand for competitive people. Getting people with the right skill sets for the business as well as developing internal people who can deliver to the new market dynamics, is increasingly becoming a challenging task.
The demand for niche skills is escalating as compared to that for plain vanilla skill-set. As an example, an ERP solution provider company was building a team of people who had strong F&A domain knowledge and also understood various technologies supporting financial solutions. They needed people with a consulting background who could look through various cloud-computing technologies to be developed and be able to provide solutions to the client. This is a classic example of the complexity of the requirement based on the business needs, thereby making lateral hiring more critical. Considering the niche skills desired, 100 percent internal hiring would not solve the purpose, as getting such diversified caliber is a genuine challenge. In such cases, organizations need the right mix of people to can cater to diversified tasks.
Looking at this perspective, most organizations follow a safe approach of balancing the ratio of internal promotions and external hiring (preferably a 60 internal and 40 external), but what determines this ratio is always speculative. Getting a blend of internal and external mix works well, as the organization gets the diversified approach. Industry reports validate the fact that lateral hiring is on a rise; post recession companies have become cautious about hiring the best quality employees. Lateral hiring is becoming more of a norm than a practice for firms seeking market advantage. It brings with them new capabilities and adds depth to a practice, which can also give existing workforce greater confidence in achieving organizational objectives.
Therefore, having a well-planned hiring strategy is important. The first step for success of any hiring plan is to evaluate the internal structure of the organization, to understand if it can support the growing demands of the business. Once it is decided that bringing in external talent is necessary to support business growth, it is pertinent to evaluate what kind of talent is required and the infrastructure and career prospects that can be offered. At each step, it becomes important to align hiring with the long-term strategic plan of the organization. Not establishing a fit between talent management and strategy can lead to building a talent pool that lacks the skills required for sustaining businesses.