Ideal Outcomes

Hire for Tomorrow, Not Today

By Jason Richmond, Founder and Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.

I’ve seen it happen time and time again—and especially at senior management level. A talented individual leaves your organization for an opportunity elsewhere. Their departure sparks an immediate frenzy to replace that individual, to find someone with the same skillset to step into those shoes.

But hold on. Is that the right thing to do?

What I’ve found is that it’s critically important not to hire for the immediate pressing needs of today, but to look ahead and think about the needs of tomorrow. The role you’re trying to fill may not be relevant next year, so is the person you’re bringing on board going to be part of getting you to the next level? By replacing the exact position, all you’re doing is filling a gap. You need to adopt a futuristic mindset and be in front of the curve instead of behind it.

When we talk about hiring, it’s like setting up a chessboard for a game that hasn’t started yet. You want to be ready for not only the opening move, but also for the entire game. That’s why hiring for tomorrow’s needs, rather than just today’s, is a game-changer for any organization. It’s about looking ahead, anticipating the next big thing, and being ready when it arrives.

It’s important to get it right. The cost of hiring new people is much higher than you might think. A recent report in the Harvard Business Review pointed out that most HR leaders either don’t have a clue, or mention $4,000 an employee, an amount frequently cited in the literature. But that’s nothing more than an estimate of the marginal administrative costs involved. It doesn’t take into account training expenses, new hires’ lower initial performance, and the time invested by coworkers interviewing candidates. The true cost is often a multiple of an employee’s annual salary!

So, how can you shift your hiring strategy from reactive to proactive?

Strategic Workforce Planning

Don’t wait until key people leave. Start looking ahead—today. What skills do you think you’ll need? What kind of projects will be on the table? And then say to yourself, “there has to be more than this. What am I missing?” Brainstorm with other leaders and try to imagine the unimaginable.

A Learning Mindset

If you’ve invested in learning and development, you’re preparing your team to meet whatever challenges come up in the future. I’ve always thought that learning how to learn is more important than what you learn. Because that gives you the ability to be flexible, adapt, and stretch into new roles. I always recommend hiring people who have the concept of continuous lifelong learning at their core. They’re the ones who are going to help your organization grow and thrive—and not stagnate.

Using Data Smartly

With all the tech out there, predictive analytics can help you understand industry trends and prepare better. It’s like having a crystal ball, but one that’s backed by data. The rapid growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning has created a demand for skills that were not considered necessary a decade ago. Companies that anticipated this shift and began cultivating or hiring for these skills early on are now industry leaders.

Creating a Team of Chameleons

Change is the only constant in business, and flexibility is its best companion. If you hire people who are ready to adapt and evolve, you’re essentially building a team that can thrive no matter what the market throws at them. It’s not just about finding someone who fits the job today; it’s about spotting the potential to grow into roles that might not even exist yet. Note that a flexible work culture is a resilient work culture. When change is part of the norm, your team won’t be thrown off by new demands or shifts in the industry.

Igniting Innovation

Innovation isn’t just about having a few bright sparks; it’s about making an innovative mindset part of your company’s DNA. When you hire with an eye on the future, you’re planting seeds of innovation throughout your organization. You’re not just filling a gap—you’re aiming to create something new, something that should set you apart from the rest.

Plan for the Next Leaders

Succession planning isn’t just for the C-suite. It’s about identifying potential leaders at all levels and giving them a path to grow. As discussed, hiring is expensive. If you can anticipate what skills you’ll need down the line, you can save a lot by developing these skills within your existing team rather than competing in a tough job market when the need becomes urgent. Plus, a stable team means lower training and hiring costs.

Invest in the Future

Hiring for today might solve immediate problems, but hiring for tomorrow? That sets you up for ongoing success. By thinking ahead, you ensure your company remains robust, competitive, and innovative, no matter what the future holds. Think of your next hire as an investment in the future, and you might just find yourself leading the pack.