Okay, maybe I'm a little "wee the world is great" but as a seasoned recruiter, who loves this work - I've been through the rough stuff and "get" that this particular economic climate is temporary; painful, but temporary.

I'm not skipping into work all "wow this is super fun" - but no whining either. It is what it is, stay true to the basics, keep your conversations whole and productive, don't skip the important stuff, and use the time to market yourself as an expert and take peeps to lunch.

Activity Activity Activity. Right? Am I losing my mind here?

So why is my team busy chatting on Gmail, and talking about the weekend well into Tuesday?

Why isn't role modeling motivating them...

I refuse to start yelling, and the let's kick (beep) stuff is apparently falling on depressed ears.

Any thoughts on motivating a young team - one that has taken it on the chin quite a bit recently, but needs to shake that off and get to it? There is work to be done here and I need them fired up...and quite frankly, its making me tired....like I'm cheering on a losing team.

AND we just landed a couple of HUGE clients and have plenty of work...like the rest of us, they are the tougher roles and the placements are down, but we're carving our space and doing a fair amount of business. We'll be here when the market returns, a little beat up, but we'll be there...I'd like them to understand that....and my way isn't producing results - so I'd love your ideas.

Thanks! JT

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Hi Jennifer.

This idea might be a bit old-school....but how about some $$$$ incentives? It always worked for me.

Next sendout gets $100.
Next new job order - dinner at XXXXXX
First placement of each month gets an extra $1000

We're in sales. So let's encourage and reward the stuff that makes sales.
I don't know Sandra. I'm suspecting each of these recruiters is all about learning the profession, becoming the greatest and making a name for themselves.

But the problem is that everywhere they look the see how VITALLY IMPORTANT it is to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and every other new toy that comes our way. They're trying to do what all the Social Media experts are saying they should do - you know - what with personal branding and all.

So just let them all go about racing to see who can make the first sendout and hand the guy(gal) a hundred bucks. And then do it again tomorrow. And the next day. My guess is once they see that it's the guy ON THE PHONE getting the extra money they may just decide to skip all the friend invites and actually call someone to let the know about that hot new position.

P.S. I've done the sacrificial firing thing. It never really seemed to "scare" any production out of the others.

P.S.S. For anyone who thinks $100 might be a bit steep for a sendout please call me. I will purchase every sendout you want to sign over to me for $500. I'll even wire the money the same day!
I like it Jerry - thanks. I am not above using the good ole dollar to motivate my team - especially because we are in this business with that very thing as a significant motivator. And, in this climate, they haven't made as much as they will in six months, next year, when ever this economy rebounds - I think handing out cash for milestone activity is a great jump start to help them shake this off.

I've tried Sandra - your suggestion. And it worked, but not in the way I wanted. Recruiters are an insecure lot...no matter how great we are, we never think we're good enough...add a poorly timed firing in there and I've got a melting pot of butt kissing that I just couldn't handle. lol.

Thanks guys, super suggestions, appreciate it all.

Jerry Albright said:
I don't know Sandra. I'm suspecting each of these recruiters is all about learning the profession, becoming the greatest and making a name for themselves.

But the problem is that everywhere they look the see how VITALLY IMPORTANT it is to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and every other new toy that comes our way. They're trying to do what all the Social Media experts are saying they should do - you know - what with personal branding and all.

So just let them all go about racing to see who can make the first sendout and hand the guy(gal) a hundred bucks. And then do it again tomorrow. And the next day. My guess is once they see that it's the guy ON THE PHONE getting the extra money they may just decide to skip all the friend invites and actually call someone to let the know about that hot new position.

P.S. I've done the sacrificial firing thing. It never really seemed to "scare" any production out of the others.

P.S.S. For anyone who thinks $100 might be a bit steep for a sendout please call me. I will purchase every sendout you want to sign over to me for $500. I'll even wire the money the same day!

There's a scene in Bull Durham where the coach asks Crash what to do with a young team that is 8-16 with a road trip looming the next day. Crash says, "Scare 'em. They're kids...scare 'em." Coach walks into shower room where it's all gaiety and throws a bag of bats scattering them across the tile floor to get their attention and then proceeds to "scare" them with a dressing down that includes calling them lollygaggers, reminding them that this is a simple game, "...you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball."

Seemed to work for him.

"Scare 'em. They're kids...scare 'em."
Hi Jennifer -

The only thing I can say with 100% certainty about motivating people is that nothing you do will have a uniform impact on the entire staff. That said, I hesitate to make a blanket suggestion, although I am leaning towards Jerry's suggestion. People who work in recruiting tend to be motivated by money so I think this has the best odds of not only boosting production, but getting people excited about it.

As much as I hate to disagree with somebody like Maureen, I would stay away from the yelling/screaming/scare tactics. I think the Machiavellian approach of using fear as a motivational tool is a rather unsuccessful long-term system. Sure, you may shock some of the employees into increased production right now, but you'll have to constantly keep them on edge to keep things going. This will result in employees stressing out even more than they likely are already, reduced morale from the brow-beatings, and a distanced staff. There are some people who respond better to the vein-popping, high volume displays, but it won't do much to earn you many loyal followers.

Instead I would suggest setting up individual meetings with each of your staff members and actually discuss what drives them. Then set some reasonable stretch goals for each one of them. This way each person has a target that will require effort to hit, but is reasonable enough to actually reach. I think this stands to have a better success rate since it shows your willingness to put time and effort in for your staff.
Jennifer,

Good question and a situation I’m sure a lot of us have struggled with and I think you need to apply a combination of the two.

Keeping in mind this is a young team I’m sure some are more hungry then others and some have decided in this economy they will just try to hold onto their job. If you offer the cash incentives suggested that will certainly kick start the group and I think it will be easy to see who is willing to dig in and who is still not taking control of their responsibilities (you probably know already who these folks are) Once the least productive is identified, parting ways will send a message to the group that you are willing to reward effort but unwilling to accept slacking off. The producers will produce but this should shake up the middle of the pack and get some extra effort started.

I have grown many successful sales teams in all types of economic conditions and markets, cash rewards work! so does a fair assessment of productivity and the release of the least productive. I appreciate the fact that you want them to succeed and are frustrated that they are not stepping up but only a few people ever have the ability to truly emerge from the pack. When a stand out does emerge you need to embrace, mentor, educate, and reward.
Hi Jen,

I used to work in a big Boston office full of kids, a group of at one time close to 30 in our division....and I was once one of the young ones. (a LONG time ago). :)

Here's what I saw.

Yelling and screaming as Maureen suggested, doesn't work. In fact, it has the opposite effect as kids or not, they're still adults and that behavior is unacceptable and in an instant you'd lose everyone's respect. (sorry Maureen!, loved the movie though).

What did work? As Jerry, Gino and Paul suggested, motivating by activity and production and $$$

Jerry's suggestion is good. One that worked really well for us and got everyone fired up to compete with each other in a friendly way was to have an app lead contest, with a prize for the one with the most app leads....and then of course everyone wins when the app leads are converted to job orders and to placements. We defined an app lead as information given by the candidate as to where else they are interviewing through other agencies and should ideally include a contact name. If the candidate was still pending though, out of respect you'd wait to call for the order until he/she is no longer interested, or pending.

Other contests we did were for client visits, sendouts, interviews in.

We'd also try to have company ins....picking a day that worked for the client and having them in and committed to 4-6 'slots', where we'd book the candidates for them to see, no resume screening ahead by the client. This was hugely successful. I had one client that came in weekly for several months as they had continuing openings.

Do some more trainings, sometimes giving people information makes them more confident to do more. Ask them where they'd like more training, and have some fun with it!

I also agree with Paul, give everyone a shot at some contests, see who kicks in with productivity and then also seriously consider shedding the lowest producers if they're not making a concerted effort and their attitudes are not positive. I've seen that people who are really negative, and who have checked out, can have a bad effect on the others, bringing down morale and energy of the entire group. Once you make a cut or two, if that is the case, and get ride of the negativity, you'll likely see an energy boost in the others.

I've always found that excitement can be contagious, but it takes some effort in these down times.

Good luck!
Pam
Ahhhhhhhhhhh - Offer a recruiter $100 and its amazing how light the phone gets. I tried something a little different - if EACH recruiter pulls in two new JO's (we defined HOT vs. NOT) by Thursday COB, everyone gets $100 - but everyone has to pull the weight - included myself in this push to get in on the action. The phones are buzzing. Of course, I won't tell them I just pulled in six new req's until the end of today, lol, just to keep it moving right along.

_______

Like most agencies right now, we are impacted - we've done the lay off of the non-producers, had one who was a promising star simply cave under the pressure and quit (is actually working now at a perfume counter at Nordstom's! what??!!), and what we have now is typically a power team - high billers, deeply niche'd, focused and driven...I only have one other however who is mid-thirties (FINE, I am late 30's), who is more strongly motivated due to mortgage and kids, etc...I think part of the issue is the financial pain point...right out of college, and in one case living still with parents, and 50k looks like heaven...tough to get them to see that this biz is not for those who settle for that kind of income, this work might not be rocket science, but it does take a certain something something to reach for it all, and in the end its just not worth it for the same amount of money you can make in a career choice less challenging.

Gino - I do individual meetings on a quarterly basis with that same mentality in mind - but perhaps during the tough times, upping that to once a month will keep me closer to their fears and understand better how to motivate them.

Pam - We do client in's all the time - especially for our larger clients, we also do on-site with the clients and work as a "host", which generates second round interviews quicker than any other business strategy we've seen. Works fantastically and plus, it breaks up the day with a little client interaction - and what is better than kicking (beep) in front of your clients - zippo.

You guys are great, thanks for all the input.
Great input, everyone. Great to see what ideas work and which may have in the past but are no longer affective on the younger geneations. What I've learned and observed with this new generation is that respect and integrity go further and have more of an impact than intimidation and punishment.

We've distinguished through this blog string that there is apparently a lack of coping skills by the younger generation when the chips are down. I encourage those of us who have been low with the chips to talk to the generation about tactics to use during these times.
I've brainstormed a few approaches that may make a difference, depending on what you have already implemented or attempted with your group:

1. Be a coach or mentor not just by telling them "back in my day when" stories, but offering Q&A time, reading about solutions and tools that worked during past recessions for the recruiting industry. Also, hold open forums or informal meetings that provide opportunity for your team members to brainstorm solutions, etc. Give them the opportunity to generate their own solutions. Hold them accountable for progress and outcomes.

2. Another possible approach is to bring your observations of their productivity to the table. Make it known what you are seeing and tell them what the consequences are if it continues. Be real, firm, respectful and fair. Effective managers don't let their team members hang themselves without first providing guidance to achieve potential. Like kids and dogs and most human though, if we are allowed to get away with it, and are not reminded or informed otherwise, we think it's OK.

3. Another approach is to clarify the team's goal (s) and the individual player(s) goal(s). Do they know what is at stake? Do they know the consequences?
Perhaps use a sports model and break it down into playing seasons (monthly, quarterly, etc.)
i. If we as a team produce X wins, then we go to the playoffs (end of season reward/party/trip, etc.)
ii. If you as an individual player produces Y, then you receive $$$.
iii. If we don't win as a team, we will cull the herd.
iv. If you don't produce as a player you'll be seated at the bench, or let go.

4. I liked Paul Sember's comment about responsibility. We all know when we are being responsible and when we are not. Those who have ability to recognize when they are not will respond to a talk or meeting about this subject and hone their integrity. Those who do not have that ability will become obvious (if they are not already) and can be given a second talk, privately. If they don't then respond, let them go. There are plenty of high performers who are looking for their next gig to bust a move on that you can bring on board.

Best of luck Jennifer. Please keep us posted on what worked and what didn't. Thank you too, for reaching out to your community and requesting support!
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Sit amongst your team and model the behaviour you want.

Glare at people occasionally (when they deserve a prod).

Stand up when you are on the phone so your presence is large.

Communicate (loudly) your breakthrough outcomes.

Monkey, see, monkey do.

Any monkeys who see and don't do - another jungle might be more to their liking.
Not only that Ms. McCartt but there are distinct "generational" differences:

I'll bet that Gino and Jennifer hate being yelled at, you and Jerry would chuckle while saying "F U, I'm going to make your presence obsolete", and Paul might simply look at a person, smile and quasi-evil-slow-laugh, "Heh-heh-heh."

As far as incentives and rewards, the "rules" are not to give them frequently, know what incentivizes individuals, and make a pig public spectacle when giving them out.

But motivating a young team first requires interviewing them so you know what elevates and lowers their pulse. Second step - in fact this may be the first step - requires an understanding on your part that the kids grew up IMing, texting, and emailing their 24 hour whereabouts and happenings to their friends. Third, understand that the Baby Boomer parents and school teachers of these kids had their own unique way of parenting and educating; for many, work is the first time the real world reared up and slapped these maggots across their faces (lol) - and it weeh-weeh huht. Longer post required to discuss this - unless others want to jump in.

But if they produce while Twittering, do you care less about these things?
The thing is here Steve (great reply by the way) that they are NOT going to make any placements Twittering.

There. I've said it. Sorry kids - it's time to pick up the phone, call "these people" and make "this presentation".........sorry but lets start with what we KNOW works. All these latest tools are only a variation on ways to MAKE PRESENTATIONS. So let's master MAKING PRESENTATIONS first - then move on to the hot new tools and SM du jour.


P.S. Tweeting your hot job and hoping it gets RT'd does not count as "making a presentation"....lo siento mucho.
Steve Levy said:
Not only that Ms. McCartt but there are distinct "generational" differences:

I'll bet that Gino and Jennifer hate being yelled at, you and Jerry would chuckle while saying "F U, I'm going to make your presence obsolete", and Paul might simply look at a person, smile and quasi-evil-slow-laugh, "Heh-heh-heh."

As far as incentives and rewards, the "rules" are not to give them frequently, know what incentivizes individuals, and make a pig public spectacle when giving them out.

But motivating a young team first requires interviewing them so you know what elevates and lowers their pulse. Second step - in fact this may be the first step - requires an understanding on your part that the kids grew up IMing, texting, and emailing their 24 hour whereabouts and happenings to their friends. Third, understand that the Baby Boomer parents and school teachers of these kids had their own unique way of parenting and educating; for many, work is the first time the real world reared up and slapped these maggots across their faces (lol) - and it weeh-weeh huht. Longer post required to discuss this - unless others want to jump in.

But if they produce while Twittering, do you care less about these things?

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