With summer holidays fast approaching (I use the term very loosely given there are grey, foreboding clouds in the Lancashire sky, as I write this in June, with a cardigan and fluffy slippers on) I wonder how many recruiters are thinking ahead of how to ensure their desks don’t collapse whilst they enjoy their well earned time off.
Whilst holidays are part and parcel of every day life, the summer poses it’s own challenges with long school holidays, (with some schools off for 6-8 weeks), thus creating potential issues for working parents in particular, and also the colleagues who are sometimes left “holding the baby” in their absence! How do recruiters ensure they remain successful throughout the year, without creating a ‘trough’ of activity and subsequent income, yet still manage to enjoy their fortnight in the sun and not risk returning to zero. Here are a few tips:
The direct approach
In the run up to your holiday, for the activity that is occurring beforehand and will run over this into your holiday time, facilitate a communication to allow your clients and candidates to have each others mobiles and emails so that they can continue to have a dialogue in your absence.
Incentivise your team
Your employer may already adopt a split fee scheme on candidate ownership, however, perhaps you can negotiate with a colleague to “proxy” manage your activity for a split of the fees. Or alternatively, you could offer a reciprocal arrangement when they take their holiday pro forma. Either way, choose a trusted colleague you know will maintain your professional approach to ensure parity for your clients.
Boost your activity
In the weeks before your planned absence, create more activity and opportunity for revenue by working harder and longer. It is simple economics. And whilst I am huge advocate for flexible working, in the run up to my (frequent holidays) I definitely create a crescendo of activity in the days leading up to my time away.
Speak to people honestly
Talk to your employer and explain what support you need in anticipation of your vacation and how they can assist you further. Can a resourcer shadow you for the week or so before you go to take over instead? Equally, speak to your clients and ask them to pre empt any potential issues so you can manage them accordingly.
For working parents
There are additional challenges facing working parents especially those of school age as you face the arduous task of finding suitable clubs and activities potentially for 4 weeks out of the 6. Prebook your childcare in advance and ensure a calendar of availability to alleviate the guilt. Some holidays I have had no full cover so I work 7-1030am and then 4-7pm so I can get the kids involved in a home based activity and then enjoy something fun with them during the alternate hours.
Honesty is the best policy – I have always been very proud that I am lucky enough to work around the school holidays and I know I am not the norm. However, I have always encouraged clients and candidates to be totally open and honest. Therefore, don’t shy away from your pending absence- use it as a reason to steer faster processes and facilitate decisions before you go!
Book your diary up
I have always ensured that I have a busy diary for when I return from any holiday- definitely not the first day back obviously, but certainly by day 3 you should get yourself back out in front of your clients and candidates to get yourself “back in it”. Confirm everyone when you arrive back from your hols the night before you return so you can focus on answering those 765 emails and missed calls
Remember, a holiday is a chance for you to rest, relax, bunjee jump, taste exotic foods, ski down a slope, visit a Roman ruin, lie on a foreign beach- whatever your choice of location, it is an essential time to remove yourself from the daily constraints of work, the constant pace of recruitment. Take your holiday allowance- use it to relax and chill out with your loved ones. Reflect, make plans, tick off bucket lists. Try not to think about work and don’t log on or check your messages unless you absolutely have to.
Whatever and wherever you go this summer, stay safe and enjoy.