Why Do Some Recruiters Almost Always Smash Their Targets?

Throughout the last 20 years, I’ve heard hundreds of recruitment directors complaining about underperformance and missed targets. Invariably, the conversation revolves around disciplining the under-performers and, far too frequently leads to some of those under-performers leaving their recruitment company a few months later.

One complaining director said to me, “When I interviewed her, she was so positive and bright. She told me that she would be on the phone all day long winning business, and yet just three months into her employment I had to fire her because she has a bad attitude.”

If this sounds familiar, have you ever stopped to think that there might be an underlying issue in your business that inadvertently causes bright, positive people to underperform? Whenever I run training sessions for recruitment managers, I start in a place few people expect. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I’ve never seen any other management trainer start with this topic – even though I believe it’s the secret foundation to becoming a top-quality manager.

Employee Engagement is that secret foundation

If you are unfamiliar with employee engagement, I’d like to suggest that you get to grips with it – fast. This is not about ‘team-building’ or ‘bonding’ – it’s about quickly improving the culture of your business so that it makes a greater profit.

In his ground-breaking book, The Extra Mile, author David MacLeod gives incontrovertible evidence that an effective employee engagement strategy adds directly to the bottom line. My own experience of employee engagement is that it not only increases profits, but it also turbo-charges morale, teamwork and retention.

So what’s involved? David McLeod and his team brilliantly broke down the top 20 drivers of employee engagement – i.e. the things that make people (including recruiters!) want to ‘go the extra mile’ based upon surveys from 33 million employees globally. Much of this is readily available on the web, so instead of listing the top 20, let me get straight to the heart of the matter by sharing 4 of the top 10 plus some ideas as to how you can improve each of these aspects within your business:

My manager really cares about me

My ideas are valued

I am learning new things on an ongoing basis

My work is recognised within the business

How many of your staff would rate each of the above as 10 out of 10 (on a scale of 1 to 10), with 10 being outstanding? Before you answer, I’ve spoken to thousands of recruiters over the years (I’ve trained 30,000+), and very few of them are effusive about the manager to whom they report. I’ve also had recruiters telling me that they are thinking of leaving their company because they feel they’ve reached a glass ceiling and can learn no more.

3 simple steps that will improve employee engagement

1. Turn your managers into ‘Super Coaches’

Did you know that Apple develops its managers to become super coaches? The job of an Apple manager is not just to manage performance, it is to develop the capability of the staff that report to them. Why should this be any different in your recruitment company?

2. Create a culture of weekly, 30-minute development/training sessions whereby your managers get together with their team, and where managers and staff learn new things/improve upon things that they already know.

If you were to action this today, then in 12 months’ time each of your staff could have improved in approximately 50 different areas of their job.

3. Ensure that any learning session involves idea generation from staff, plus praise and recognition for the ideas that come out of those sessions.

Take action on this point, and not only will staff enjoy inputting ideas, but you will also generate high-quality improvements to your business as a result.

How will these 3 steps improve employee engagement?

Let’s revisit the following:

My manager really cares about me

If your manager runs weekly development/training sessions every single week does that not send a message to the staff that the manager cares about them?

My ideas are valued

If your manager runs weekly training sessions in an inclusive way, and always extracts ideas from staff prior to teaching them a new or better way to do things, doesn’t that send a message to the staff that their ideas are valued?

I am learning new things on an ongoing basis

If your manager runs weekly development/training sessions, your staff will always be learning new things, and therefore you have another tick in the box for employee engagement.

My work is recognised within the business

If your manager adheres to the mantra, ‘catch people doing things right’ he/she will be able to praise ideas that come out of weekly. A 30-minute training session means that staff will feel their ideas are praised and recognized.

I’d like to be able to say that when I implemented weekly, 30-minute training sessions within one of my recruitment companies across the UK, Australia and New Zealand, it was part of some master plan to drive employee engagement through the roof. What actually happened; however, was that I stumbled across a way to drive employee engagement before I even knew much about the subject.

My experience of it was so powerful; however, that I now advise companies to follow suit. Not only does it take little time to do each week, but staff are also more engaged. They respect their manager more and they bill more. When you think about it, if you were to implement this simple strategy of running weekly, 30-minute training sessions in your business, then in 12 months’ time, every one of your staff should have improved in approximately 50 different areas of their job.

More importantly, you will retain more of those bright, positive new hires, and more of your staff will smash their targets.

Would you like to save 20 hours each time you hire?

And reduce your recruiters’ time time-to-bill…?

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