Are Unique Employees Good to Have vs. Molding People to What You Want

If you know anything about footwear, you know that when the heel of a good boot wears thin, you don’t buy a new pair, you replace the heel. News to you? Then you’re not buying good enough boots. Anyway, employees are no different. Just as a good leather boot takes time to break in, so too does a solid team member take time hit her or his stride. Take this for granted, and you’ll quickly be limping behind the competition.

The Cost of Onboarding New Talent

In his book, The Greatest Management Principle in the World, Michael Leboeuf cautions against overlooking the value of training. He writes: 

If you believe that training is expensive, it is because you do not know what ignorance costs. Companies that have the loyalty of their employees invest heavily in permanent training programs and promotion systems.

All too often, the issue is that employers see training as a cost rather than an investment. In a bid to skinny company operations, it can be tempting to try and hire instead of nourish needed talent; rarely does this play out well. A survey conducted by HR Review in the UK shows 56% of workers assert that they would leave their current role if their employer ceased to provide training. In the same study, 31% said they already had. Have you lost an employee lately? If you’re reading this blog, chances are you have…

As if the risk of losing your top team players isn’t incentive enough—because, trust me, it’ll be the best that walk when they’re not given ample opportunity to grow—consider that, on average, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary to replace lost talent. Unless your HR team is recruiting at the local elementary school, you should never need this much time to retrain an existing team member.

When Hiring Outside Talent is a Must

If you’re headed to climb Mt. Everest, you better have a good pair of mountaineering boots. If you don’t, you’ll die, and no cobbler on earth can change this if all you’ve got is a pair Frye’s. All that is to say that you bring in new talent when the consequence of inexperience or talent misalignment would be too big a risk.

Looking for a CFO and no one onboard has accounting experience? Don’t promote sharp Sharon with the razor intellect and insatiable ambition. Hire someone with a proven track record and appropriate credentials.

Back to Boots

Examples such at the one provided above are the exception. Generally, it is better for your bottom line, company morale, and future growth to nurture the talent you’ve already worked hard to recruit. Not only will rising stars be enticed to stay by the promise of professional development, so too can you rest easy knowing that new blood won’t upset the balance of your workplace environment.

If after taking all of this into account, you still doubt the benefit of upskilling current team members, the problem might be that you bought the wrong boots in the first place. After all, if you can’t put a new heel on an old, beloved pair (read: retrain a trusted employee), you should’ve chosen better to begin with.

Ready to Hire Smart?

Since 1997, Hiring & Empowering Solutions has been helping law firms across the country to find, recruit, interview, hire and onboard top legal talent…and we can help your firm, too. Learn more about our Smart Hire Solution™ for law firm staffing, and, if you’re ready to start hiring, click the button below to schedule a call with our founder Molly McGrath. 

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