If you’re looking for the right candidate for that hard-to-fill management position, you might be tempted to look outside your company – but in doing so, you may be ignoring the perfect candidate who already works for you.

It might be that the existing employee doesn’t have a qualification like a Master of Business Administration (MBA). However, for mid-career employees, work experience can often shorten the process of gaining an MBA. Specifically, you can explore whether an employee’s work experience qualifies them for a GMAT waiver. The GMAT is an entrance examination required for most business schools. Employees who qualify for a waiver can skip paying fees for the test, studying for it, waiting for the results, and waiting to apply to business school – all while they’re still working for you.

Supporting your employees’ further education adds to the pool of skills your company needs to remain competitive. Promoting education – and promoting your existing staff – also builds loyalty, and not just in the employee who has been promoted. Your other workers will know their hard work will be rewarded, too. No matter where your company is located you can even help employees find the right school for them by pointing them to websites like MastersPortal, which lets user compare programs around the world

As Steven McCarty, vice president of corporate human resources at Enterprise Holdings, told The New York Times in 2013, “It is so much harder to evaluate people from the outside during an interview process than it is having everyone start at the bottom of the organization and continuously promote from within. The only exceptions are specialty positions – software engineers, attorneys, etc.”

Every year, Chief Executive magazine tracks the companies with the best internal development programs. General Electric, EMC Insurance, and Hitachi Data Systems topped the 2016 list. These organizations and others like them establish “cultures of advancement” by promoting from within.

Tapping existing staff makes monetary sense, too. Even the most competent and experienced new hire will need training. No company operates exactly like another, even within the same industry. Your company may use different software, follow different workflows, or maintain its books differently. The specifics of your strategy and priorities may differ. One of the biggest challenges for new employees is adapting to new corporate cultures and forging relationships with team members. Many of these are challenges existing employees simply don’t have.

While that new hire is in a training period – during which they’re not working with maximum efficiency for maximum profit – an existing hire can get up to speed more quickly and take their work to the next level. What’s more, studies show that employees who are promoted internally also have a lower failure rate than external hires.

Article by Joshua O’Connor. Joshua has worked as a business journalist for 20 years at companies including CNN, Bloomberg, and the South China Morning Post.

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