As a recruitment company owner, how do you successfully negotiate transforming the small, ‘lifestyle’ business you created into the bigger, ‘corporate’ business it’s becoming? In the final blog in this series, Chris Orkney, Sales Executive at Bond International Software, looks at why it’s important to retain consultants following the transformation and shares some great tips on how to do so…
Why retain people as a ‘corporate’?
What are the benefits of retaining people your business attracted as a ‘lifestyle’ following it’s transformation into a ‘corporate’?
They’re the people who helped build your company. The morals, values and ethos your clients have come to expect were formed with and delivered by them. If they leave, it’ll be difficult to recapture that ethos with people who weren’t there and don’t really understand what it was.
If I was a client who’d done business with a recruiter for a number of years and they left, and maybe a couple of their colleagues left as well, and I received a call from a new salesperson…I don’t want that, I want the relationship I had. I don’t buy into a recruitment company for the branding, I buy into it for the people who understand my needs and deliver on them. If those people leave, what is the company now? Do I have the patience to find out?
Invest in your people
Invest as much as possible in your people while the business is small. Mold them into the people you would want as your business partners in five years’ time. Give them the skills they need to be an equal partner to you. As they develop, you’ll probably be happy to invest part of your business in them, maybe even give them a share of your business. If you don’t invest in them, in five years’ time when they ask for share of the company and that doesn’t work, your problems will begin. Perhaps you never wanted them to be part of the bigger picture, but maybe if you invested in them, you would.
Instead of disgruntled employees leaving, develop valuable people helping take your business forward.
How do you retain people following the transformation?
A bit of a generalisation, but in my experience there are three types of recruiter – those who want to develop into Managers, have teams under them and work on some of their deals, those who simply don’t want to manage, and those who want to manage but probably shouldn’t! In any case, you’ll most likely be handling one of these types, so keeping them is a matter of managing them in the right way.
Consider ‘Executive Consultant’ or ‘Management’ paths. An Executive Consultant would be a high-biller who isn’t interested in managing, helping, or even working with other people. They’re ‘in the trenches’ but at a higher level. They’re earning a good percentage, the cost of their desk is low because they don’t have people working under them, and they’re consistently profitable for you. Team Managers move up from there. With the third type, those who want to manage but probably shouldn’t, allow them to progress to Team Leader and let them prove themselves.
Build teams around high-performers
As soon as your business starts growing, your achievers should be earning commission from the consultants under them. Then, if you have a Team Leader moving up to Manager, the pyramid takes shape and your senior recruiters earn from their team’s bills as well as their own resources. If the hierarchy forms in the right way, people used to being paid well move up the ladder and are still paid well even though the commission percentages go down – and the Manager still earn well via the people under them.
Transformation is natural, retaining can be natural too
If your business starts as a ‘lifestyle’ and you shape your people into those you would like to do business with moving forward – that’s a team to build your ‘corporate’ business around. If you lose them, you’ll need to start looking for people to do business with you, not people you want to do business with.