Moving Managerial Hiring Beyond a Transaction
When hiring a manager, we need to consider the skills needed to be successful in this role versus the role of an individual contributor.
For many organizations, hiring a manager is like hiring any other role.
Yet, managers play a vital role, often serving as the front-line voice of leadership to reach each employee across an organization.
Managerial hiring is often seen as an isolated and transactional process, which can result in poor outcomes. Gallup found that companies miss the mark on high managerial talent in 82% of their hiring decisions. Because of a manager’s span of responsibility, selection rigor needs to be higher. Nevertheless, there is often inconsistency in identification approaches or a lack of deep insight about what is needed for an effective manager. Furthermore, there is also the frequent talent and manager hoarding and inconsistently applied decision-making processes that permeate most organizations. All of these often lead to inconsistent manager selection, leaving an insufficient management bench over time.
Lacking talent insight often leads to poor outcomes. For hiring managerial talent, it may be tempting to fill roles with internal promotions based on high-performing individual contributors. However, not every high-performing individual contributor will make a good people manager. For some teams, progression includes people management responsibilities, which not every individual will be good at (and that not all individuals even want).
For hiring managerial talent, it may be tempting to fill roles with internal promotions based on high-performing individual contributors. However, not every high-performing individual contributor will make a good people manager.
The situation can be even more challenging when it comes to first-time managers—someone who will be a people manager for the first time. They often lack support and need tactical guidance on the basics—from giving effective in-the-moment feedback, to doing a performance review, to running a team meeting. If your organization has a formal manager training program, that will help, but it should not be assumed that such formal training might solely lead to effective management. Gauging an individual’s interest and readiness for management should also be an objective for any organization looking to develop managers from within.
Considering the challenges organizations face when hiring managerial talent, your hiring approach for managers shouldn’t merely replicate your hiring approach for individual contributors.