The Clock and The Compass
by Jon Bartos
“How to keep your top producers ecstatic about working for you and your Organization”
In the Recruiting and Staffing industry, we see it all the time. After training and developing a rookie, who then develops into tenured top producer over a period of years, leaves and starts their own shop. It’s one of the reasons that the recruiting industry is full of small boutique shops and why there are not very many 100 plus employee Permanent Placement Search firms. The problem is, once the producer is trained and producing, the employer value proposition (why work for you opposed to anyone else) is weakened greatly. The top producer, initially ecstatic about getting 35-50% of the take, now thinks, “Why am I giving up 50-60% of the cash in? For what? Paying for a name, computer system, phone line and desk?”
This will continue to be the trend in recruiting and staffing firms unless we give value back to our employees. Here are a few things to help you value pack an employee offering and keep most, if not all, of your best employees and top producers.
1. Have a defined Career Path and Timeframe expectations
In the recruiting industry you can have a job for life which is great. You can do this business from your cabin in the woods, your boat on the Gulf of Mexico or your RV in the Grand Tetons. However, you may have the same job, for the rest of your adult life. For too many people this is a daunting thought- doing the same thing over and over without seeing a positive change.
To keep people engaged and a focused on personal and career growth, give them a career path and timeframes or performance criteria. In my office, there are positions such as Researcher, Project Recruiter, Account Manager, Account Executive, Practice Manager and Partner. By giving individuals a way to work up to more responsibility, it gives them something to focus on and satisfies the personal and career growth part of the equation that the recruiting industry so direly needs.
2. Offer the best training and development available
When employs are asked what they would like most from their employers, a top 5 is always additional training and development. With the American Staffing Association, NAPS, The Next Level Exchange, all the split networks such as (NPA, Top Echelon, etc) and the franchise opportunities such as the MRINetwork, Sanford Rose, Agent HR, etc., there is plenty of wonderful training available. If you do not belong to a franchise or split network, look into other avenues to get your people the best they can be. The Next Level Exchange, www.nextlevelexchange, has some of the best online training I have ever seen for next to nothing.
Have training weekly. Role play through the candidate and client interfacing opportunities. Keep in mind, the only thing worse than training your people to be the best they can be and losing them – is not training your people and keeping them.
3. Put a Performance Management System in Place
A performance management system helps each employee reach their potential at their given respected position. It connects with the Applicant Tracking System or Recruiting Software and helps collect data to monitor performance. Like telemetry in a NASCAR race, the Performance Management System helps set goals, gives them a series of dashboards and pin points areas of strength and areas of weaknesses. Some of them – like Revenue Performance Managements RPM dashboard – give them immediate training and development as well. This is a strong value added piece allowing employees to continually achieve their goals and the owners alike. Check out www.rpm-usa.com for more information.
4. Give employees a long term reason to stay. (Partner, Ownership, or Executive Benefits Program)
If people are leaving due to not having ownership or long term compensation – give it to them. There are many programs that can be offered to help keep them in their seats. Many recruiting organizations give real stock or phantom stock once they have reached a certain tenure or performance benchmark. However, if that is not an option, and Executive Benefits Program may work for you in the same way.
An EBP allows you to put money away for your key people under a unique program. You determine the amount of profit you want to share with your top people as well as you decide who is in or out of your plan. It allows you to put money away for them every year, and can grow aggressively with interest. It’s a wonderful option if you don’t have ownership to give, but still have the benefits of for long term compensation. The individual who has set up many of these programs all over the country for Search and Staffing firms over the last 10 years is Garnet Wahlund. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-762-7705.
Keeping your top performers happy should be every manager’s priority. By having a defined career path, giving your team the best training available, implementing a Performance Management System and providing long term incentive program - you will be well on your way helping your producers stay in their seats.