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The silver of the house

There are very old expressions that never lose their relevance. "Silver of the house" is one of them and has the advantage of projecting meanings that favour understanding the genuine value of the best we have to give. When we say that we "went there with the silver of the house" we convey the pride of those who have triumphed without external resources, making the most of what we have at home.

The roots of the expression are embedded in medieval soil. They may have something to do with the encouragement given to guests in taverns and inns to use the house silverware instead of bringing their own eating utensils. This emphasised the image of the establishment and the importance of valuing and making the best use of internal resources.

There is another origin that reinforces the meaning of the expression. In recent centuries, bourgeois households have taken up the habit of displaying silver tableware on festive occasions. In this way, the "silver of the house" began to be perceived as a sign of respect for those who visited us, but above all as a gesture of deference when using the best that was on offer.

In our organisations, on the other hand, the expression is sometimes used as a synonym for "last resort", when no more added value can be found in-house. In this respect we are very messianic and no one can stop us believing that the best is always out there, often deluded by the brilliance of other people's reputations, but almost always united in the conviction that "the neighbour's chicken is always fatter than mine".

Fortunately, there are those who see organisations as places to celebrate talent. Those who use internal recruitment as a mandatory tool for growth. At the end of the day, there are those who are committed to activating internal change as a natural way of motivating and developing their team. In these ecosystems, "house silver" is seen as the answer to problems and not as a subordinate resource that is activated when all the others fail.

In order to manage this issue, it is crucial to adopt an internal recruitment policy. This is all the more necessary if you are committed to consolidating a healthy organisational culture. Because it is based on the principle of respect for people, their potential and the ambitions that drive them. And recognition of their professional and human experience as agents of change who experience and shape the organisation's values.

It's also good to see that when we adopt internal rotation practices we are avoiding, as José Régio would say, the "ironies and weariness" in the eyes of those who "no longer want to go there". Stagnation and complacency are not only combated, but also opportunities for growth, if not professional resurrection. The sparkle returns to the eyes and, instead of losing people, the organisation recovers professionals for life.

Does this mean that external recruitment is secondary? Far from it. It's almost always inevitable when the pieces move on the organisational chessboard. But it's worth at least putting both channels on an equal footing. Advertise vacancies internally and externally. Recruit with an open mind and apply the same selection criteria. And choose the best, even if this opens up new positions internally.

"House silver" is a treasure that shines with authenticity. Making the most of it is a sign of intelligence. So be it within the framework of a policy of valuing human potential that is capable of paving the way for brighter futures. To get there, let's not forget to polish the house silver.

By Rui Fiolhais| Vice-President Wellow™ Group