Devan Moonsamy 

At some point of an employee’s career, they would have to bid farewell to the organisation. As much as many employees might stay on for years and we see this when they are awarded 30 or 40 years of service awards, we must remember that not everyone remains in an organisation past a certain point. 

There can be a number of things that contribute to why a person needs to leave. Whether they have to relocate to a new country or city for the sake of the family, they could have been job hunted and got a better offer or simply, they could have become tired of working in the same organisation. 

Whatever the scenario, there comes a point when even the most committed of managers must hang up their hat. And this leaves higher management in a fix. 

Should the role be filled internally? 

Would the company benefit better from an external manager? 

What if the person from outside doesn’t live up to the role? 

There are a range of questions that ultimately put into a motion a whole chain of events. Whispers start around the office. The second in charge feels that they might be offered the role and they start telling everyone if they do get it, they would refuse, but deep down they really do want the promotion. 

It will also create a whole new dynamic around how people would feel about an outsider leading their team. But at the same time how would they feel if one of their own started to head the team and there would be a change in power dynamics. The challenges and possibilities are endless.

Let’s look at some of the advantages of hiring internally: 

  • Advantage: If you hire someone internally it won’t cost you as much. This means that the position can just be advertised on your internal communication forums like staff notice boards, sending out an email as well as on the company website that has a section for information for staff. This way you won’t need to pay a recruiting agency or organisation to get you a candidate. This also means you won’t need to have to spend more on background checks or calling references because the person suitable will be from within the office. 
  • Advantage: Having the position advertised internally will make staff feel valued. This will show staff that you value your employees and that you want to invest and promote their growth and development in the business. By giving your staff more opportunities to grow in their jobs boosts their morale. It would make them want to work hard and stay committed to the organisation because growth is being encouraged and valued. 
  • Advantage: Hiring someone internally means they would take less time to adjust to their duties and the business. Having someone in house take up the new position is a great way to ensure the time taken for someone to adjust to a new position is usually much less. Getting someone internal to fill the spot is great because they already know how the business is run, they know the policies and clients and they are familiar with the people. This way there isn’t need for major adjustments. 

Let us look at some of the disadvantages of hiring internally

  • Disadvantages: Staff might start to feel resentment towards the new leader. This means if more than one staff member has applied for the position and they were unsuccessful, they might feel frustrated about working under someone for a position they felt would have been theirs. This might even be the case when someone external might fill the role. The resentment will also be there as an internal person was overlooked and an outsider filled the role. 
  • Disadvantages: Hiring internally might limit the application process. You might find that replacing the person leaving internally is the solution but it does prevent you from expanding the search to someone with a fresh look on management on leadership. Having a vast net of applications can be helpful in finding new talent and fresh vision. 
  • Disadvantages: When a staff member replaces a manager their position becomes available and you would need to replace them. This means going the route of internal hiring again. This might shake things up and upset the flow of work and lead to demotivation between team members. 

Here’s how to overcome the challenges of internal hiring 

  • The process of replacement must be transparent and unbiased. Ensure that everyone who meets the job requirements in terms of experience and skills are aware that they can apply. 
  • If you already have a candidate in mind then avoid communicating about the role openly. This will give the impression that there is no one running for the position at the moment and give hope to candidates who might feel suited for the role. 
  • Use a balance of internal and external candidates. When you need to fill the role of someone leaving look at the job requirements and determine the what the advantages and disadvantages would eb of someone internal or external filling the role. 
  • Managers should be tasked with training their team members with possible career goals. This way when they are leaving, they can recommend suitable candidates and justify why they feel so. They would also be vital in ensuring staff feel valued and motivated all along and not just when there is a promotion. 

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College. He is the author of Racism, Classism, Sexism, And The Other ISMs That Divide Us, AND My Leadership Legacy Journal available from the ICHAF Training Institute. 

The ICHAF Training Institute offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

Tel: 011 262 2461 | 083 303 9159 |58+1


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