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How to avoid feeling threatened by a back-up hire

Marc Baloch, Head of Global Insurance at Harvey Nash, shares the things to consider if you feel someone might be taking over your responsibilities

As the departments grow and responsibilities change, new hires can often be brought on board to help cope with changing roles. When a new recruit is hired to take on responsibilities that overlap with you, don't immediately jump to the wrong conclusion. Take the time to find out whether your boss is trying to offer you support or finding someone to replace you. 

Once you gain a sense of why the new hire has brought in, should you voice your concerns with your boss, or look for a new job? And should you always feel threated by a backup hire? Consider the following:

Signals - As a company or department grows, individual remits can change, managers will often be busier than normal and deadlines might become shorter. As a result new employees will often be brought in to help support teams, taking on existing responsibilities so others in the team can focus on growth. On the flip side, you may witness other signals from your boss that allude to your performance, which signal that they are not entirely convinced of your capability to deliver across all your areas of responsibility. There are tell tale signs to look out for, such as mention of missed targets or expression of disappointment in performance levels, either to you directly or to your colleagues. 

Proactivity - Don't immediately jump to the wrong conclusion. Your boss may be trying to support you with a new hire to take on some of your current responsibilities so that you can develop into a new, larger role. Where companies adopt talent-mapping processes that encompass both internal and external perspectives, this may simply be part of the business' growth strategy and planned personal development of the team. Your best approach is to arrange a meeting with your boss to discuss the implications in more detail and to gain clarity as soon as possible. 

Consider your options - If you feel someone has been brought in to replace you then it is time start looking for a new role. Before you dive into the jobs market and reach out to recruiters, take time to consider why this situation has arisen and explore ways to demonstrate your value more explicitly in the future.  Maybe it's time to reassess your skills and explore additional training to work on your personal development.

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