In a recent article by Dr. John Sullivan on the recruiting community web site ere.net, he tells us about the concept of “re-recruiting.” According to Sullivan, this basically means proactively approaching your best employees every few years or so in order to reengage them with their job. While the process may include a change in compensation, re-recruiting is much more than an employee review. It’s more of a “redesign” of their job, doing whatever it takes to ensure that your best employees love coming to work for you instead of finding things they love in a job someplace else.
If you’ve identified someone as one of your best employees, recruiters have as well. These might be professional recruiters, but also business acquaintances, friends or even customers who say things like “If you start your own company, I’d hire you.” Great employees get these “offers” all the time – and it’s naive to think that such recruitment would not influence their thinking, no matter how loyal they are. Re-recruitment is simply a way of telling these sought-after employees that you think enough of them to make them a new offer of your own.
Here are a few of Sullivan’s top reasons to re-recruit. First, it keeps good employees from falling into a rut. Research shows that employees can get bored with doing the same thing in as little as 18 months. Give them something new to look forward to! Additionally, it adds excitement to internal offers. Re-recruitment tops a normal “review” because it includes an offer of actual change, something that can re-energize an employee relationship. Finally, being first with an offer is key. By offering them a great “new job” before someone else does, you’ve shown that the employee is your top priority.
What are the nuts and bolts of re-recruitment? Sullivan includes these steps: Develop a recruiting tool kit. Whoever handles HR in your company should consider the options that might appeal to good employees (e.g., extra flexibility, the ability to choose their own projects, access to new technology) and determine how to actually implement them. In addition, you may want to ask for ideas from employees themselves. Create personalized retention plans. Work with managers to identify what Sullivan calls “frustraters” that might cause an employee to leave. Counteracting those things that make a good employee dislike their job is often an economical way of giving them something of great value. Document the process, get started, then refine it as you go. Don’t wait or you may miss your chance to re-recuit. After you complete the process with one employee, note what worked and what did not. Make adjustments for your next target and put everything in writing so the process is easy to repeat.
If this sounds like a lot of extra work, you may be looking at it the wrong way. Successful employers know that it always takes fewer resources to keep a great employee than to find a new one. Make re-recruitment part of your company, and your team can be great for a long time to come.