December 2018 Features

Acquire or Train Talent?


Written By: Don Davis

There is no easy answer to this fundamental question

Business is booming in Greater Gainesville. That’s great, but a downside is that companies are fighting each other for the best workers.

I want to offer some suggestions for hiring, as well as retaining your best, most productive employees. The age-old question in talent acquisition is, should you hire experienced versus inexperienced?

Before I answer that question, let me offer the case for each option.

Hire Experience

PRO – Save time/Buy new clients:

Many employers favor acquiring talent in good times because the time to train the inexperienced might mean missing the economic boom. New hires are expected to steal clients from former employers.

CON – Costs more:

The mitigation is that in good times a company with strong sales can justify spending money. Of course, the increased payroll expense continues after good times pass. A study conducted at the University of Berkley, California, found that it cost 175 percent more to hire experienced talent than to develop.

Develop the Inexperienced

PRO – Lower cost:

Lower cost during good times and after good times pass. When employers favor training, their thinking includes that training frees up existing salespeople to go out and find “new” customers.

CON – Competitors steal
your trainees:

Training is tricky. If you want to keep trainees, they need to see a career path via internal promotions leading to competitive pay and benefits at your company. Be on a constant search for ways to challenge and incent your employees. Salary should only be one component of employee incentives.

Hire experience and develop

The key is for a company to discipline itself to maintain a strong development program even when they know some of their trainees will be stolen by competitors. Hiring experience can be suspended when the good times pass but hiring trainees and developing them should continue to prepare the company for the next cycle of good times.

Talent management is not an exact science, but you have a better chance of success if you treat your employees with dignity and reward them for their successes.

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