NFP Promoting From Within Works When Handled With Care
Monday, 22nd September 2008 at 4:52 pm
Promoting employees to leadership positions from within a Not for Profit organisation has a tremendous upside for both organisations and their employees. The evaluation and hiring process must be handled carefully to overcome potential challenges that can include miscommunications and ill feelings, according to a recent issue “Leadership Matters,” published by Bridgestar, a Not for Profit initiative of the Bridgespan Group.
Bridgestar’s “Considering and Evaluating Internal Candidates for Senior-Level Nonprofit Positions” suggests the following strategies and best practices when considering internal candidates for senior-level positions:
* Ongoing communication is key. Organisations should establish clear and constant communication with an internal candidate from the time the person first learns of the employee’s interest until the final hiring decision is made.
* Don’t forgo a full search. Even if an organisation believes that the internal candidate is ideal for the position, conducting a full search will help ensure that the internal candidate is fully vetted and enables the organisation to feel confident that it has gone through the process. It also helps to avoid any doubts and provide credibility for the internal candidate.
* Conduct due diligence. To further demonstrate credibility, internal and external candidates should undergo the same review. Even though it might seem unnecessary, it is helpful to conduct reference checks on internal candidates. When the employee was first hired, the checks might have focused on a different set of
roles and responsibilities; so organisations should ask internal, as well as external candidates for references who can address the types of experiences they will need in the new position.
* Maintain confidentiality. To ensure that internal candidates are not considered lame ducks or feel embarrassed if they are not hired, it’s important to keep these interviews confidential.
* Address rejections delicately. According to Karen DeMay, Bridgestar’s regional director of talent and recruiting, if an internal candidate is clearly not a good fit for the role the organisation should try to coach the person out of the process. If possible, allow the person to withdraw the application rather than have it rejected. When a strong candidate makes it to the final stages but does not get the position, it is critical to
communicate clearly and sensitively.
Organisations might consider an in-person meeting to tell the employee why the position won’t be offered, list the
requirements of the position and explain how the other candidates more closely align with those requirements. In
addition, organisations can communicate that the process was valuable and enabled them to get to know the employee’s background better. If appropriate, tell the employee there will be more opportunities in the organisation.
* Communicate honestly with the new external hire. The new hire should be informed about any personnel changes or friction that might occur as a result of the hiring process. Tell the new hire that there was an internal candidate who was interested and how the situation was handled.