Why Developing Leaders From Within Is The Best Hiring Tactic

Anyone who is involved in recruitment knows how easy it is to spend so much time combing through resumes as well as interviews, only to get it wrong in the end. You hire someone, only to realize that they aren’t as smart, or qualified as you thought, and don’t quite gel with the company’s culture. Now, instead of wasting all your time and resources, why don’t you rely on a strategy that has guaranteed results – hire from within. This strategy is very popular and has been adopted by major companies like Google and IBM. Let’s find out why you need to focus on this strategy too

A Thorough In-House Training Program: IBM case study

IBM’s Approach

IBM formulated a thorough training program for their employees who are aspiring to be global leaders. They relied on a combination of online training modules, as well as in-class training, which had a massive impact on the employees’ internal characters. The company’s approach was to take their leaders through an internal process that would enable them to fine-tune their ability to operate under different cultures. This strategy proved quite effective since the leaders who came out of this program had an entirely different perspective when it comes to cross-cultural management as well as diversity. It also gave an ethnorelative cultural sensitivity as well as a cultural intelligence that sets them up for success, especially when faced with challenging circumstances.

2 Pros about IBM’s Approach

The depth – the company’s approach does facilitate an internal shift deep within the participants. The leaders from this program are fully immersed within the principles underpinning effective diversity management. All the philosophical thought processes are well-interrogated, and nothing is left to chance. In the end, more rounded leaders are created.

The ethics – as mentioned, IBM’s approach did teach the participants to appreciate the different cultures as part of their core value system. This makes the leaders more competent, productive, happier and also enhances better partnerships

Reasons why developing leaders from within is crucial

Lack of leadership development does affect your organization in so many ways. It can result in low morale, high turnover, absenteeism, low productivity, and many more. Now, these specific reasons speak directly to the need and importance of leadership development, particularly from within the organization. Also, as we saw in the case of IBM, training the leaders ensures that they learn various principles, among them effective diversity management, and also makes them more productive in their roles.

What are the benefits?

Strengthens the organization’s culture – by developing leaders from within, like in IBM’s case, it portrays the organization as one that supports internal growth, and that’s actually what attracts people/consumers – which is why IBM is where it is today.

Boost employee retention – top talent want progress, and when they see leaders progressing within the organization, of course, they will want to stay and grow, compared to an environment where hard work is not recognized, where they are more likely to leave.   

Reduces the cost – hiring leaders can be costly, especially if you are hiring from outside. But when you decide to train leaders from within, it won’t cost as much, and that would be a plus to the organization.

Implementing a Leadership Development Program

From the IBM case, we can say that there are two crucial ways for implementing a leadership development program:

Coaching – this involves boosting the confidence of the leaders. Other than empowering them, it allows to gain a new perspective, especially when it comes to everyday responsibilities. It also encourages them to think freely, and are also able to appreciate the different cultures in the workplace.

Mentoring – when we talk of mentoring in leadership development, try reverse mentoring whereby you swap the roles of the mentor and the mentee so as to close the knowledge gap, and also empower the mentee as an emerging leader.


As we conclude, we can all agree that hiring organizational leaders from within is the best strategy. As it has been demonstrated through the IBM case, it always works to the benefit of the organization, as it promotes the company culture.