Happy, engaged employees are proven to be more effective and productive, and are therefore the dream employee to manage. However, in a competitive pressure-cooker environment like recruitment, it can be challenging for managers to create an environment of happiness and engagement.
Managers are a key part of the puzzle and are entirely crucial in creating the building blocks for engaged teams.
So, what can be done to increase the happiness quotient in your billing team?
1. Praise and support more.
We often see recruitment managers being promoted due to their individual recruitment success, but they’re not given much leadership training in how to get the best out of others. The individualistic mindset then continues in the management role and gets in the way of supporting and praising other recruiters as much as they should!
Learn to praise more. 76% of people are motivated by public praise, so if you’re not using this strategy in your arsenal to get the most out of your team, then you’re seriously dropping the ball.
2. Treat each recruiter as an individual.
Your management style is just that: yours. No matter how easy-going/strict/high praise/hands-off you are, your natural management style is always going to work well for some people, and not as well with others. This is why it helps to ask each person on your team how they prefer to be managed and adapt your style accordingly. (Of course, if they ask to be left alone largely, but they’re then not getting the work done, you’ll need to address that, but always give them a chance to prove themselves first.)
3. Help them look to the future.
Nothing creates loyalty like showing that you care about the employee’s future. Find out where the consultant sees themselves in 3 or 5 years. Don’t get upset if they want your job or see themselves working in another sector; it’s no reflection on you as a billing manager.
Once you know their goals, you can help them where relevant, such as organising training or mentorships, and helping them build the skills they need to get ahead. This doesn’t need to be a huge outlay of your time, often you’ll just get the ball rolling, and they’ll run with it, feeling supported in their goals and happy to perform in their current role.
4. Encourage friendships.
Because recruitment is competitive, we sometimes see ‘aggressive competition’ forming within teams. As a manager, it’s important to reduce this where you can, by creating group activities, encouraging knowledge-sharing, and encouraging an after work meet up in the ‘local’.
Don’t crack down on recruiters chatting among themselves (unless it’s getting ridiculous); by breaking friendly chatter down, you create resentment of the workplace and you as a manager. Encourage positive energy within the team any way you can.
5. Make feedback a priority.
Lots of employees hate feedback, lots of managers hate giving it even more. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it. Feedback is the most important way of knowing where a recruiter is struggling, where they might need extra training.
It’s often hard to hear and hard to say for both sides, but it’s crucial to develop a feedback culture. After all Millennials (most of your team) want it too. Without knowing what to change how can you recruiters improve?
6. Allow employee autonomy.
Recruitment already has autonomy built into the role; most recruiters can run, to an extent, their own desk and their success is shown in their billing numbers.
If you, on the other hand, are a manager trying to control how your recruiters are operating without giving them the freedom to find their own way, you’ll only encounter resistance and resentment.
Always be there to offer support but allow people to make their own mistakes (within reason.) Also, delegate responsibilities to those who crave it, and enjoy seeing them excel.
7. Share the mission.
Every company has goals; the problem is that those goals are often either not known by employees or misunderstood. Your role as manager is to communicate the big company goals to each, making sure they know how they fit into the bigger picture. Also, and crucially, how they stand to benefit from working towards the company goals as well as their billing targets. If you can communicate this in a way that gives an employee a sense of purpose and even pride in the company, then you will have an engaged, happy, and high-performing team.
Never forget: all of your recruiters’ results reflects on how you’re doing your job as a manager. Don’t fall into the trap of blaming poor performance on your crop of ‘poor’ recruiters – this sounds like an excuse. You have an important role to play in making each member of your team perform to their best abilities. Accept the challenge, and see how far you can run with it.
Until next time,