Employee Development, Employee Engagement, Skills Assessment

R ecruiting. It’s the bane of growing companies. While being in a position to be able to hire new employees is a good thing, recruiting for immediate needs adds stress and subtracts time from operations – time needed to run a growing company.

According to Forbes, today’s workers are more likely to work multiple jobs in multiple roles – the average American will work 10 roles in seven jobs during their work life, and the vast majority of these will be towards the beginning of one’s career, when role-switching costs are relatively low.

But are you be recruiting too much? Excessive hiring during good times is one of the most common mistakes of high-growth companies, especially when they want to implement new processes. Instead of hiring more employees, what if you utilized the skills of your current employees to fill that open role instead?

Let's take a look at Acme, Inc. The company has recently grown and is looking to better understand their marketing campaigns. Acme’s CEO believes the solution is to hire someone to implement Google Analytics. While there isn’t much critical campaign activity at the moment to analyze, the CEO wants to set up Google Analytics and get some automated reports running so that when major marketing campaigns are started later this year, the reporting infrastructure is already set up.  

Acme currently has three people in its Marketing Department – Marc, Suzy and Paul.

Businesman Headshot 

Marc Mason
Marketing Department
Marc used to work in New York as a columnist for a mid-major magazine, where he learned marketing skills from a stint helping out the marketing team launch a new international edition.  He transitioned to becoming a full-time marketer and still does freelance editorializing on the side.

 Businesswoman Headshot

Suzy Smith
Marketing Department
Suzy received an MBA with a focus on Marketing from the Sloan School of Management.  She spent a year working for a Boston consumer tech company, where she was learned how to build marketing analytic dashboards and received a Google Analytics Certification.  

Businessman Headshot

Paul Petrov
Paul studied business at the Lomonosov State University of Moscow, and moved to the United States shortly after graduation to work for Acme Inc. Paul is fluent in English and Russian, and takes nights and weekends classes in Java Programming at the local university.  

As you can see, despite working in same department, all of them have very different experiences and skillsets. Look at Suzy’s bio – she used Google Analytics at her previous job! Acme Inc. doesn’t just have three people with valuable marketing skills, it has three people with many valuable skills who work in marketing.

There are a couple of ways that Acme’s CEO can decide to implement Google Analytics: 

Recruitment Process

Scenario 1 - Hiring a Google Analytics Specialist (freelance or otherwise)
In Scenario 1, Acme’s CEO decides to hire a Google Analytics Specialist. This involves:

  1. Beginning an external job search for people.
  2. Interviewing several dozen prospective candidates.
  3. Paying to bring a handful of candidates for an on-site interview.
  4. Sending an offer letter to the most prospective candidate and waiting to hear their counteroffer.
  5. Beginning onboarding process for new candidate.
  6. New candidate is finally ready to begin implementing Google Analytics.
  7. After some time, Acme’s CEO will have to decide whether implementing Google Analytics has been the best solution.
If it turns out that Google Analytics are not the best solution after all, Acme’s CEO runs the risk of having just hired an employee who may not be helpful to the company.  Happy Employee

Scenario 2–Temporarily switch Suzy to set up Google Analytics reporting, then evaluate hiring options later. 
Instead of hiring a designated Google Analytics person or Data Scientist to set up the platform  you can transition Suzy temporarily into Google Analytics. Chances are, if she has mentioned her certification or interest before, she would would be interested in taking on the new challenge.

Now, you only have to temporarily fill Suzy’s role – a role which is highly defined, since everyone knows what Suzy has been working on before, and there is plenty of checks in place. 

Google Analytics is a heavy time sink initially, but once regular reports are setup, it may require minimal upkeep.

This is the cost-switching theory of talent management. Bringing on someone new to complete a new task is a heavy cost.  But, transitioning someone temporarily who already knows the company, and bringing on someone new to fill the role temporarily requires less cost.

This practice hinges on a few premises:

  1. Roles in the company are transparent and fluid
  2. Suzy doesn’t have tasks on her plate that are immediately necessary for her in specific to complete
  3. The new task requires a lot of up-front time and effort, but not as much later on
  4. The management team really knows their employees’ secondary skills, beyond just their job description.  

How can you keep track of employees’ secondary skills and interests? Download our Employee Roster Template Excel Sheet!

Download Our Free Template


Tagged: Employee Development, Employee Engagement, Skills Assessment

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(Wolverinus Carolinium) is a 2014 Venture for America Fellow and former Dale Carnegie Training GA for Effective Speaking and Human Relations. Proud Carolina Citizen, Detroit Denizen, and Michigan Man.