Recruitment is a hard job. It amazes me that those who have never worked in the industry often think it’s “money for old rope!” Nothing could be further from the truth. Being a recruiter or a manager of a recruiting team is really hard work. I liken it to being on a fast roller coaster requiring huge resilience, real skill, the mental strength to overcome rejection, high motivation and energy, self-belief, huge determination and overall, a positive can-do mindset.
I could fill pages here articulating all the stages in a recruitment process where things can go awry - often at no fault of anyone involved - it’s simply due to the enormous range of human dynamics in most recruitment processes. I witnessed so many positive scenarios of high-5’s, bell ringing, happy calls to clients and candidates and whoops of joy one day and then the next day bringing the lows of frustration, “walks for fresh air”, head bent in the kitchen, sighs of disappointment and wan shoulder shrugging. It can certainly take its toll on positive mindsets and self-belief.
This rollercoaster shows up in the tyranny of high attrition. People begin to think “is there an easier way to make a living?” They choose to leave the industry or are often enticed into internal recruitment teams in large organisations, believing the role there might be easier. I’m sure there are just different pressures and a different roller-coaster.
The cost of this attrition runs to staggeringly high levels and recruitment firms can experience rates over 40% while national averages tend to run closer to ca. 15%. It is an inherent productivity and growth inhibitor for every staffing & recruitment firm the world over. No matter if they employ 10 or 10,000 people.
Leaders in recruitment firms spend a lot of time, brainpower and budget tackling attrition. There are any number of initiatives deployed; strategic efforts to remove some of the pain from the process, innovative incentive schemes, fun team building efforts, lots of sales and service training and coaching to upskill the teams to “manage processes”. Of course, hiring profiles are reviewed and regularly tweaked. As a result of all this focus and effort, attrition can decline for a while and then, surreptitiously, it begins to rise again. The merry-go-round prevails.
And that’s before we add in the additional challenge of the dynamic of remote and hybrid working
Hands-down the best approach to tackling attrition and having a dramatically positive impact on productivity and growth is to focus on individual and team performance. When people are doing well, they are more likely to stay. In my experience, the greatest positive impact on attrition is high-performance. Sounds obvious I know. But let’s explore that. Of course, markets are cyclical and there can be busier and quieter times in any market. But some of the best recruiters do their best work in a quieter market, and anyway, we can’t just wait for good markets to grow our businesses.
Like athletes and other high-performers, continual course correction, ongoing feedback, coaching and expert input into what small changes they can make to improve their performance is invaluable. So how best to do that given the reality that many managers and team leaders are also doing their own recruitment job as well as managing a team? The Manager really is "the pinched middle" of every business and time is their scarcest resource.
Well, in keeping with another key trend in organisations, becoming a digital employer of choice is the smart thing to consider. So, how can technology help?
Putting a company-wide focus on performance makes so much sense. Processes around performance management are to the fore. People are crystal clear on what’s expected of them and feel highly-supported in delivering that. Managers and team leaders are helped and supported in coaching and developing their teams every single day. And so much more!
Declaring my bias here as I’m a co-founder of Frankli, but I am absolutely convinced that a people-centred, user-friendly performance management platform accessible from every person’s desktop brings performance to a whole new level. This performance platform “superpower” facilitates ongoing Performance Reviews, Goal Setting & KPI’s, Successful 1:1's, Continuous Feedback, Coaching & Mentoring. And when performance goes up, attrition goes down. What’s not to love?