Why High Potential Could Be High Risk

When your vision is to build a company that’s organized more horizontally, without multiple levels of hierarchy, the process of recruiting new talent becomes a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you want to hire people who are at the top of their game to catapult your growth and, on the other hand, there’s this nagging doubt whether such “top talent” will stick.

After all, there’s no denying that recruitment is a costly, time-consuming affair and you’d like to get it right the first time. However, hiring top talent from the market means taking on the risk that their ambitions may not be realized within the horizontal structure of your organization - and that eventually, they may leave.

Prioritize Culture Fit
The very culture and organizational structure that you painstakingly built from ground-up could stifle the hopes and dreams of candidates with high potential who’re raring to blaze their way through the corporate world. Such people find it almost impossible to reorient themselves towards growth that’s not vertical and fast-paced.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, your best bet is to hire someone who is in line with your organization’s core values and culture. That, instead of their qualification and experience, should be your primary focus during recruitment.

In other words, hire people who appreciate and want to participate in your work culture, even if they don’t have the highest level of skill or the most impressive employment history. Such people are more likely to stick around for the medium to long-term and integrate better with the culture, social values and contracts you’ve established.

Benefits Of The Right Mindset
Of course, you need to hire candidates with the right set of skills for the job - but it’s more important to find people who are willing to commit and engage with the established company values and culture.

Doing so will reduce your employee turnover rates and in the long-term provide greater value to your company. When you hire people who are willing to stay for the medium to long-term, it not only creates better work consistency but also massively reduces recruitment costs for the company.

Don’t Break What You Built
High potential candidates, may be sought-after in the marketplace and in certain contexts, it definitely does make sense to hire someone who’s an ace in their field. However, such people often have aggressively ambitious mindsets and are bent upon climbing corporate ladders - fast.

While that may be great for a traditional and hierarchical company, it might introduce conflict and unnecessary workplace friction within more horizontal organizations. Besides the risk of unraveling the hard work put into establishing a flatter structure, companies also end up paying more when they hire such highly ambitious talents.

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