Staff Retention in Recruitment
Losing talented staff that you have invested time and effort in training can be one of the hardest parts of running a recruitment business. Churn in recruitment is much higher than other industries and is accepted as the group norm – but is it?
Staff turnover hurts your business, it disrupts growth, the staff left behind, morale, and can create a snowball effect in the opposite direction to the one you are going in. But why do people leave?
Recruitment business owners often think it’s all down to money, but fundamentally I disagree. Attracting staff is hard enough in the first place but why do people join companies and more importantly why do they leave.
My belief is that it starts and finishes with honesty.
If you have a clear vision of where you are going, how you are going to get there and they can see you executing against that plan then that is the greatest starting point. A track record of basically doing what you say you are going to do without an ulterior personal motive.
But if your staff doesn't believe that what you outlined to them on the way in, is going to happen, and can’t see others that have benefited and progressed by working with you then why would they stick around to make you wealthier? You need to be able to demonstrate those that have progressed from every entry level and seen the benefits, this is hard in the early stages but utilising these key members in your hiring journey shows and demonstrates your ability to progress people.
Inducting your staff with clear expectations around what they need to do for you, and what you will do for them in return sets the initial benchmark. Following that you need to back it up with a consistent monthly review. Nothing is more important than these reviews. If your staff think that they aren’t important to you, their level of energy can dwindle quickly. This is so important. It is your commitment to them to help develop and get better each month, not a witch hunt to find out what they haven’t done.
Investing in training and development are key and fundamental steps. If your staff can see you spending your own time to help them progress and this is done on a regular basis rather than "we have a problem, quick throw in some training" then they will feel empowered and invested in and this will reap rewards. Putting together a proper learning and development programme and then delivering it every week and month is a proper investment. Getting members of the team involved in giving training in their key areas of strength feels inclusive and recruiters can always develop a different insight.
Spending time celebrating the wins is also important. Often, recruitment owners spend the majority of their time with those that are underperforming rather than reinforcing the success of those that are. Enthusiasm is infectious and winning becomes a habit so focussing on the positives really work.
Saying thank you and well done, it doesn't need to be a grand gesture but perhaps a lunch where you get to know them a bit more and say thank you for their hard work. This could be one individual or a team and the unexpected treats often have the most impact. There shouldn't be any agenda, simply knowing your staff better will help you understand their underlying motivators, and this in itself can help you incentivize and reward far better than just thinking money is the answer.
Overall, I believe in transparency, honesty and a “win-win” culture whereby if your people do well and work hard, you will do everything in your power to ensure they are rewarded and progress. They will become the ambassadors of your business as a result. This starts with a proper induction and monthly appraisal process that is stuck to and taken seriously. If this is the only thing you change you will see results.