This article originally appeared in ShortList on 21 September 2010, 4.35pm
Not all top billers want to be leaders, so motivate them in other ways: Clennett
Top billers who are not interested in being promoted into leadership roles become flight risks, says recruitment trainer and industry expert Ross Clennett, and recruitment company managers must stay vigilant in order to prevent these employees getting bored.
In his most recent blog, Clennett said that if a top biller had expressed reluctance to become a people manager within the business, there was a real risk that without fresh challenges, they might be tempted by an offer from a rival agency.
This could happen "even though that top biller has expressed no dissatisfaction with their job or the company or made any attempt to leave previously", he said.
Clennett told Shortlist the market for experienced and talented recruiters was incredibly tight at present, and therefore those who left would be tough to replace.
He said many top billers were unwilling to be managers, "and it occurs because what the experienced recruiter sees [managers deal with] is just a lot of headaches".
Some top recruiters felt they had enough stress dealing with candidates and clients, he said.
"A lot of big billers would say: 'You know what, just give me the money and the standard hours - don't give me the extra headaches.'"
Clennett said a manager should objectively assess the staff member and decide whether they were indeed an elite recruiter by industry standards.
He cited recent research from sales training company BSRP that found the top tier of perm consultants billed at least $590k per annum, and the best temp/contract consultants brought in at least $900k.
If the individual wasn't yet at this level, the first step was to challenge them to achieve higher billing targets.
Managers could also set "stretch targets" for their best consultants, such as securing a certain proportion of exclusive assignments, or making two reverse marketing placements a month.
Consider mentoring, conferences and executive education
Clennett said there were a number of other approaches recruitment managers could take to support top-performing staff and keep them interested in their work:
Make them a mentor:
"Offering an opportunity to informally coach and develop a new recruiter,
without formal leadership responsibility, can motivate the top biller and
provide them with an opportunity to experience the satisfaction of assisting
someone succeed. And maybe whet their appetite for a formal leadership role."
Send them to a conference:
"There are many recruitment conferences held internationally every year,
especially in the US. It's a great opportunity for a big biller to meet many
other recruiters and hear and experience how recruitment is being undertaken
outside of their home shores."
"For those recruiters who have a limited or narrow tertiary education
background, there are courses on offer at places like the Australian Graduate
School of Management and the Melbourne Business School at Mt Eliza, to name just
two... A massive array of non-executive distance learning options are
Raise their industry profile:
"Challenge the big biller to be a sought-after speaker or writer within their
niche market. Suggest they join Toastmasters and/or undertake a writing skills
Ask them to lead a project:
"Not wanting to lead people does not preclude the big biller from wanting to
lead an important internal project. Such issues as a new CRM system, a
comprehensive competitor review, key customer research or a refreshed company
brand, are all areas that a big biller may enjoy some solo responsibility, along
with a budget and timeline."
Send them on holiday: "Recruitment agency recruiting can be hectic, stressful and demanding. Often the lure of a long holiday is resisted due to fear of returning to a near-empty pipeline of business. The smart owner/manager knows when to insist that their big biller take at least three weeks off and suggests that they leave the country and immerse themselves in a culture or an experience that takes their mind completely off work."
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