Losing your best recruiters to a competitor is never an easy pill to swallow. Not only does the situation deliver a major financial blow to business, but it can have a pretty negative impact on the rest of your team too. So what can you do to prevent your top performers from jumping ship and worst of all - taking their desks along with them?
First of all - who are your best recruiters?
Understandably, there’s a tendency amongst agency mangers to believe that our best recruiters are always our top billers, but this can result in equally great performers being overlooked.
For example, if you have one recruiter working purely an established temp desk, having a regular recurring revenue base means their billing figures will always be higher than the recruiter sitting next to them who only recruits perm and starts each month from scratch.
And what about those on your team who’ve worked tirelessly on building great relationships with clients that they’re managing to pull in retained work or strategic client to your agency?
The reality is, recruitment is more complex than monthly billings give credit to your team, and these aren’t the only way to highlight your most productive recruiters.
Of course the top billers will always be the apple of every recruitment agency’s eye, but great overall performers should still be recognised as such and steps should be taken to keep them in the business.
Here’s how to do it!
How to keep hold of your best recruiters
Pay attention and stay engaged
As tempting as it may be to leave your top performers alone to do their job, this won’t keep them at your business.
Sure, maybe they do prefer to work alone, but that’s no excuse to largely ignore them - checking in once a month won't exactly encourage loyalty.
In reality, top performers still need your time, attention and confirmation that they’re doing a great job, even if they don’t need your support. In fact, one report by Facebook even advocates that the best leaders spend most of their time with their best employees.
It’s important to pay attention to the signs and engage regularly with your high fliers to make them feel like a valuable part of the business. If they don’t feel worthy of your time, resentment can seep in and when the phone rings from the dark side – they’ll take the call.
Invest in personal development
We recently wrote about how important non-salary benefits are becoming in attracting and retaining our candidates, and in many ways this applies to recruiters too.
A clear path for progression does wonders for improving employee morale at any business, which will in turn keep your most motivated recruiters happy in their jobs for longer. Offering training in any form will only make your employees better at their jobs, and if they can perceive that it’s benefiting their career to stay put, they won’t even contemplate making a move.
If your recruiters are in a position that they feel they’re being invested in, they’re much more likely to stick around to see what’s next in the pipeline.
Listen to them!
Most top performers will be vocal about what they think (whether it’s good or bad!) and if they don’t feel that they’re being listened to, they’ll be off like a shot.
Asking your most valued team members for feedback gives them confirmation that you respect their opinion and at the same time gives you an opportunity to gain insight on any improvements they deem necessary - without opening up the floodgates to your whole team with a feedback session.
What is it that’s kept your top performers loyal to the business: Is it your passionate culture? Your generous commission scheme? You’ll never know for sure until you hear it from the horse’s mouth!
Benchmark your recruiter salaries
We’ve squeezed this one in at the end not because it’s the least important (we all know it’s the contrary) but because it’s the point nobody likes to talk about.
But ask yourself this: “What could my best recruiters be offered which could make a role at a competitor more attractive than the job they’re doing for me?”.
Regularly conducting salary and commission rate reviews to ensure you’re always providing market value is important to retain the top performers. All it takes is for your competitor to reach out and offer slightly more and you’ll lose them – and the financial implications of hiring a replacement far outweigh the pinch of shelling out a few extra bucks to remind them their hard work is appreciated.
If you’re already confident that you’re offering market rates but still worried about a worst-case scenario, try offering equity or stock options as a long-term incentive.
Great recruiters won’t think twice about moving if you don’t make hanging around worth their while – and if you don’t offer competitive rates, you can’t be annoyed if they scarper.
In a nutshell, you should never assume recruiter loyalty without having good reason for it!
Have you identified the real top performers at your agency? Download the recruiter conversion rate calculator below to find out.
Katie once headed up the Firefish blog and marketing team. She now works as a freelance copywriter and continues to contribute to our award-winning blog.