Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Invest in Your Best: Re-Recruit Your Top Performers

Listening to my friends’ tales of their Valentine’s Days last week reminded me of well, business. Yes, okay, I love my work, but I don’t think of it as a valentine. What I mean is that all the “re-romancing” my lucky girlfriends and I received is somewhat similar to the practice of “re-recruiting”.

In both instances, the object of your attention is reminded of how much they are valued by you. You want to keep them around. You appreciate all they do. You make the effort to give them some attention and maybe a little something so they know that.

Performance reviews are an obvious time to engage in re-recruiting, but any time is a good time to let your key personnel know that you notice all they do and want to reward them for it. Sit down with your top 20% and let them know that you value their talent and contribution and want them to be with the company next year too. Ask, “What will it take for that to happen?”

Re-recruitment doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive. Listening to what your valued employee wants or says “would be nice” and then providing it can make all the difference in the world. Do they complain about their chair? Get them a new one. Do they want more flex time? Authorize that. First of all, you listened. That doesn’t happen enough, and it makes the listened-to feel like they are important and worthy. If you empathize when you listen, you are way ahead . And if you act on what you heard, then you just finished with a gold medal.

Now is the time to re-recruit your standout employees, says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Motivating Employees For Dummies. "Indispensable workers who helped businesses stay afloat during tough times will have new career options as conditions improve," says Messmer. "Employers need to make retention of top performers a high priority or risk losing these key players and, possibly, their competitive advantage."

"Let your top performers know they have a clear career path within the organization and re-evaluate compensation levels to make sure they're in line with what other firms in your industry are paying for similar positions."

A recent WorldatWork study found that nationally, the top recruiting trend has been the re-recruitment of current employees.

"If you don’t want your top talent walking out the door, be sure to re-recruit and re-engage them now," said Marcia Rhodes, spokesperson for the global HR association. "Compensation is no longer the big draw, total rewards are. By total rewards I mean the deliberate integration of pay, benefits, work-life, recognition and career development to motivate and retain top talent."

Rhodes added that the pay cuts and pay freezes of the past 18 months have left employees demoralized, and many studies indicate that a high percentage of employees plan to look for new jobs once the economy recovers.

Re-recruitment is a necessity if you want to keep your best employees, regardless of the state of the economy.  And letting them know you value them, directly and often, is important.  Don't assume they know. 

The key point to remember is:  Invest in your best!

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