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Hiring vs Training Your Organisation’s Future Leadership

Introduction to hiring vs training

In a competitive job market, vacancies within your organisation will occur frequently and with skills sets for job roles changing by around 25% since 2015, finding an employee to fill the gap in your business isn’t always straightforward. A large proportion of businesses have reported difficulty in finding talent, but rather than opting for external recruitment this could offer an opportunity to develop the role of existing workers.

With a CIMSPA report showing that 20% of managers in the fitness industry are aged over 55, a statistic replicated throughout many sectors, the need for highly skilled workers, particularly at a management level, will become ever more pressing.

As an employer, you’ll always want to make sure that your workforce is brimming with talent, but do you hire in that talent, or upskill your existing employees?

Woman thinking 

Advantages and disadvantages of hiring new staff.

Recruiting externally can bring many benefits; it can allow the fulfilment of any recruitment targets by bringing in more diverse talents from different pools and ensure that the position is filled on merit rather than convenience or length or service. Most importantly, it presents the opportunity to review the role and see if the requirements of it have changed at all.

This final point is particularly pertinent, in the rush to fill an unexpected vacancy it can be all too easy to miss the chance to really interrogate what the role needs. If the skill set it requires has changed considerably then having the chance to refocus the advertisement and ensure you have the right candidate to really make it work can be constructive. Diversifying the skills your team has at their disposal also provides new pathways for the training and development of other employees.

Even if the skill set has remained the same, the chance to bring in a person with fresh ideas and a new perspective can add real value to a team.

However, there are disadvantages to recruiting new employees. Firstly, it can be time-consuming, taking an average of 36 days to fill a role, according to The Society of Human Resource Management. It also consumes a multitude of internal resources, from approving role descriptions to the interview process and reference checking – there are numerous tasks to complete. On top of these tasks, new employees will also require a thorough induction process and mandatory training – time and resources that can be saved by promoting from within your organisation.

Recruitment also comes at a financial cost, according to analysis by LinkedIn, 79% of UK learning and development professionals think it’s less costly to upskill or reskill an existing employee than to hire a new employee to fill widening skills gaps. Whilst the cost of recruitment varies per industry, in the fitness sector, the recruitment turnover cost of employing a fitness instructor is estimated to be around £13,777.

Another factor to consider is the impact that bringing in a new employee can have on the rest of the team. Whilst a new hire undergoes training and adjusts to their role, the day-to-day requirements of their job are often side-lined. This can create additional work for the rest of the team, creating friction and a loss of morale.

young woman and man in a classroom

Advantages and disadvantages of training existing employees.

A lack of career development is consistently ranked as one of the main reasons for people leaving their jobs – in fact, according to PwC’s Workforce Hopes survey; over a fifth (21%) of the workforce are dissatisfied with their current role, so offering opportunities for progression can improve employee retention and employee engagement.

By training employees you’ll remove the financial cost, and work burden associated with external hiring. Current staff will not need onboarding or to undergo mandatory training, and if they’ve been sufficiently prepared for their new role the downtime whilst they adjust will be lower.

However, there can be pitfalls to internal hiring. Firstly, it can be difficult to judge whether the employee actually wants the position or feels obligated to take it. It can also create tension within a team if more than one worker feels capable of filling the gap.

Promoting an existing employee also creates a hiring need elsewhere in your organisation – establishing a need for further restructure or external hiring. This position may require a less-demanding skillset but you’ll still need to undergo advertising, interviewing and induction for this role.


So, hire or train?

As the above analysis has shown, there is no clear-cut solution to whether you should hire new staff or train existing employees – every situation must be assessed individually. The following points should be considered.

  • How specialist is the role? How long would recruitment potentially take?
  • How much would recruitment cost?
  • Are there any internal candidates suitable for the role? Are there any internal candidates interested in the role?
  • How long would employee development take?

Whilst it can be easy to make whichever decision fills the vacancy the quickest, it’s important to reflect upon the role and the impact of each option upon the rest of your workforce. Every vacancy presents an opportunity to strengthen your business so don’t be afraid to challenge the standard precedent and make an informed decision based on the needs and ambitions of your team.