Jane Whiley

Don't be an innovation inbreeder!

“Innovation inbreeding” occurs “when innovation efforts are consistently led by the same group of people who have lived their life within the company. Even worse is when innovation efforts are contained within individual functions, geographies, or product lines.” Scott Anthony.

There is a list of reasons why companies might choose to take a similar inbreeding approach to recruitment, preferring to recruit internally rather than from an external pool of talent.

“"Innovation inbreeding" occurs "when innovation efforts are consistently led by the same group of people who have lived their life within the company. Even worse is when innovation efforts are contained within individual functions, geographies, or product lines." Scott Anthony. There is a list of reasons why companies might choose to take a similar inbreeding approach to recruitment, preferring to recruit internally rather than from an external pool of talent. “

1.       They think they need a ‘perfect fit’

2.       They may be scared of how company dynamics may change

3.       Recruiting somebody new always comes with an element of risk

4.       It is a large investment to the company that may not pay off

But it is important that companies take a step back and appreciate the value a new employee with a different background might have. More often than not it is extremely beneficial to look outside the job spec and bring in someone from a different background or even a different sector.

The job descriptions that come through to us typically have a long list of requirements and ask for a knowledge expert, but actually this doesn’t always need to be the case. Candidates who come from other sectors and have different skill sets can often provide a fresh and valuable outlook on the way the company works. It is also important, as I know we have mentioned before, to sometimes look outside the job spec and not limit yourself to finding a 7 sided peg for a 7 sided hole.

I also think that some of the requirements we come across can be very limiting and have a detrimental impact on the end recruitment result. For example, I find a lot of organisations ask for candidates no further than an hour commute from the head office. This is a huge limitation to the amount of talent that might be available outside of that geography. Especially in today’s world; where flexible and remote working is hugely appealing and very possible.

Another very important thing to remember when employing the ‘perfect fit’ is that you are leaving that employee no room to grow. If they tick all the boxes then what can they do to expand in that role? Whereas if you employ someone who doesn’t quite fit the ‘7 sided hole’ then they have a lot more room for growth, flexibility and agility. Employees who have aspirations to grow and the room to do so are far more likely to stay at a company for a longer period of time.

So next time you think about promoting internally because it is easier, or dismiss a candidate because they don’t tick every box, stop and think for a moment about the potential benefits of a new person with a new outlook. ‘Innovation inbreeding’ might seem like a great idea at first but in order to keep things fresh and get the best from your employees and your business, you need to bring in some new ideas from external talent.   

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