Creating Positions for Talented People

I’ve been part of several organizations who “create” new positions at the drop of a hat (some have been for me).  They want to reward loyal or talented employees, sometimes by inflating a job title to make it sound more important and other times to retain (or recapture) an employee.  Is there anything wrong with that?

When a new position is “created” the position needs to be advertised internally so that all qualified candidates have the opportunity to apply.   Failing to do so instills a feeling that there is no opportunity for advancement unless the “right” people notice one’s work.  And just because no one has noticed a person’s strengths and talents yet doesn’t mean they don’t exist–it just means the right circumstances have not presented themselves and/or the supervisor is disinterested, disengaged, or threatened by that individual’s talent.

“Creating” a new position for someone usually happens based on favoritism.  Someone in power and authority really likes the work of a subordinate and creates a new position in order to promote or raise his/her pay.  Many times, what is really happening in this situation is the failure of the person in power and authority to address the performance issue of someone else.  Rather than make room in the existing organizational structure for their high performer by removing an existing poor performer, they create a new position, leading to middle management spread.

A sense of instability can be sensed in organizations when “creating” positions happens too frequently.  Adding positions to organizational structures in an impulsive fashion leads to a feeling of not knowing what to expect.  One thing employees prefer is knowing what to expect, at least in general.

Creating new positions, no matter what the level of talent of an applicant or employee, is just bad human resources practice.  While I appreciate that businesses need to be fluid and seize/retain talent when it is available, organizations need to address the real performance issues while seeking out that talent that already exists in their organizations.  Doing otherwise just leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who are already part of the organization and drives talent out into the market to work for your competition.




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