There is a lot of movement in the jobs market (across the board) at the turn of each new year. It’s not too hard to understand why, either.
People spend a whole year grafting away at their jobs, and want a new challenge. Specifically for third party recruiters, December is a fun but long month. With sales / placements down, and Q1 commission payments looking a little underwhelming, it makes sense to suss out what their options are. They’re likely exhausted, too; well and truly ready for their Christmas break.
When they finally finish up, put their work to bed and leave the office, recruiters (who work notoriously long hours) launch themselves into spending a lot more time with friends and family, and start to reconnect with themselves, feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated as each day goes by. This is when the self-reflection starts. They’ll think about all the things they loved and hated about the year they’ve had. What made them angry and what made them feel great. Then New Year’s Eve comes around and all anyone can talk about is how great this new year is going to be, together with idealistic plans and resolutions. Ambitious recruitment consultants will be thinking about the year ahead, and many will want to keep looking that way. They’ll realise they don’t want to go back to the same workplace; to the same market that had frustratingly slowed down for weeks before Christmas Eve. Instead they’ll want make some changes, start fresh somewhere. That’s when they’ll fix up their CV and start browsing competitors’ career pages, and responding to relevant rec 2 recs on LinkedIn. Recruiters will leave their jobs, meaning new jobs will hit the market. The market will start to buzz and become buoyant.
I guess it comes down to this: if a recruitment consultant makes up their mind to resign, it’s already too late – they’re a lost cause. They are professionals when it comes to coaching people through career moves every day, and it goes without saying they’ve done the same for themselves. They won’t look back. They know accepting counter offers is dangerous. The key is top stop your recruitment consultants from considering the move in the first place… by being a top notch employer and bid them farewell over the holidays, only to have them itching to come back.
Based on my experience working in an agency recruitment environment, there are some things managers can do to make recruiters want to come back. These are 6 crucial things that will help with retention:
1. A proper end-of-year review
A proper review and debrief of the ‘year that was’ is totally necessary to get consultants thinking about the journey they’ve had and the work they’ve put in. Being an amazing recruiter is something that slowly snowballs, day in, day out, and requires a lot of effort over a long period of time. Reminding consultants about all the ground work and market-mapping they’ve executed will help them stay focussed and eager to build on this in the new year.
2. Reasons to come back
Even if December was a really bad month for sales and Q1 commission payouts will suffer as a result, recruitment consultants need compelling reasons to come back. What does next year hold for them, and the company as well? Why should they stick around? What will the personal rewards and challenges be? If you have the feeling a recruiter is getting a little restless where they are, don’t let them be snapped up by a competitor. why not outline options for internal moves? Sure, you might lose them to a different team, but the company as a whole will benefit form having that person still an employee.
3. A January plan of attack
Booking in client meetings for January is a great place to start. Having actual work to crack on with when they come back from holidays is extremely important. If December was a quiet month, January needs to be absolutely jam-packed with activity to reignite passion for the industry and their role!
It’s amazing how simple it is to show a bit of appreciation, but how often managers overlook the importance of it. Getting employees a personalised card and a thoughtful gift might seem a little trivial and meaningless, but it really is the thought that counts. When people feel appreciated and valued, they want to do good work and add more value. Simple.
5. Social activities
When sales are down in December, moods need to be lifted. Using the final month of the year to celebrate the year and foster company culture is imperative to getting consultants to finish up the year on a positive note. If people have great relationships with their colleagues and have a lot of chances to have a bit of fun and bond with each other, it will make for a much more comfortable, enjoyable workplace, and one that would be missed dearly.
At the end of the day, you can’t stop people from moving jobs – it’s a natural part of the career lifecycle. What can be stopped, is great people leaving because no one ever really tried that hard to keep them. Do everything you can to keep great people from resigning after the holidays. And remember, prevention is better than cure.