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Marketing, Recruiting, and Retention

Every one of my clients is working hard to find the secret to recruiting and retaining professional staff. They understand all too keenly how expensive turnover is, and how detrimental it can be to long-term success. Marketing and training can play a role in hiring and keeping good people.

Recruiting

When you think about recruiting, it is important to understand it as a marketing effort. Recruiting is simply marketing your firm's benefits to a different audience. When you market to clients and prospects, you are most effective when you help them understand the benefits of hiring your firm (the security and well-being resulting from your decades of experience) rather than simply listing the features of your firm (we've been around since 1492).

The same concept applies to recruiting. Your recruits certainly want to know the features of working with your firm: salary, vacation policy, insurance and all that. These features might be good enough to capture the initial interest of recruits. You will be most successful, however, if you can convey the benefits of working with your firm. For example, perhaps they will find a welcoming, accepting environment with people who share interests and activities outside the office. When you are recruiting, think in terms of how it feels to work in your firm. Convey those emotions to your prospects along with the technical details.

Retain Junior Professionals With Marketing Training

Retaining people these days is as tough an assignment as recruiting them. Again, marketing can be useful here, but in this context we're talking about marketing training.

So often, firms spend huge dollars training their partners to market. This, of course, is not a bad idea since many partners are poor marketers, but it's a little late in the game. After all, these people are already owners and have reached a certain level of success; therefore, they have limited (if any) motivation to bring in business unless they are already programmed to do so. They became partners without bringing in clients, so why should they stretch themselves now?

Firms have greater leverage when dealing with junior professionals who are working their way up the ladder. At this level, training money is well spent teaching them to develop business early in their careers, because these folks are generally very ambitious and eager to learn. Surveys I have done for clients show that young professionals highly value ongoing education, and marketing training is a valuable component of that.

Start investing in your junior team's careers by teaching them about client service and business development from their first days, weeks and months with you. At a minimum, they will appreciate the training and consider it yet another benefit of working with your firm. And who knows? Maybe they will repay you handsomely by funding your retirement with the business they bring in over the years.

© Melinda Guillemette 2009