A Sales Approach to Recruiting and Retention
Because of the problems inherent in traditional measures, some organizations have moved towards operating more like a sales force than a traditional recruiting force. In terms of measures, the "sales" recruiting team measures outbound activity, such as establishing relationships and making presentations, just as much as inbound activity, such as taking sales orders, or making hires.
For some teams focused on wooing top talent, such as a specialized construction engineer, the sales cycle for these individuals can be five years or more. The team is not measured so much on the number of jobs they fill as they are on the number of qualified individuals they identify and the relationships they create. Similarly, retention is measured by the number of quality employees an individual manager keeps and his or her overall turnover numbers.
A recruiting team that is focused on outbound activity like a sales team will build the equivalent of a sales funnel, or a series of stages in a relationship that may culminate in a person getting hired at your company. The sales cycle for this kind of recruiting moves from identifying the candidate, though encouraging the candidate to be willing to listen to opportunities or refer others. Some recruiting managers have taken to calling this progression "suspects, prospects, and applicants."
Using a sales model may also require moving recruiting out of specific department or individuals and making sure that everyone is aware of potential opportunities to "sell" your organization to desirable employees, as well as to make sure that you reduce turnover for current employees.
For many organizations, using a combination of the traditional recruiting and retention metrics, along with increasing their "sales" opportunities, will yield the best results.
Lynne Eisaguirre appears as a workplace expert on CNN Headline News, Bloomberg TV, ABC News and many other media sources. She is the author of Stop Pissing Me Off: What to do When the People you Work with Drive you Crazy and five other books. She is the founder and president of Workplaces That Work. A Former practicing employment attorney, she presents workshops to clients such as Harley-Davidson, Southwest Airlines, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Sun Microsystems on issues from conflict management to employee retention to leadership and team building. She lives in Golden, CO and can be reached at www.workplacesthatwork.com.