Get Rid of Unwritten Internal Rules

talent managementDocumented policies and procedures guide many of the tasks staffing employees work on. And with good reason – written rules are absolutely essential to running a successful business!

But in our industry, work is often performed according to “unwritten rules”: norms and behavioral expectations you won’t find in any handbook, but that greatly influence the way tasks get completed.

Sometimes, unspoken rules are decidedly helpful (e.g., submit your vacation request as soon as you know your travel plans), or at least innocuous (e.g., chuckle when your boss cracks a joke – whether it’s funny or not).

Other times, however, unwritten rules can have a negative impact on how employees work together and the results they produce. If your team is following any of these unspoken rules, it’s high time to break them:

Starting every new search from scratch. A “tabula rasa” approach makes sense when you’re innovating new products. But when your recruiters are searching for the ideal candidate, it just wastes time.

While each search has unique elements (and retained search is an obvious exception), recruiters should work smarter – not harder:

  • Encourage them to leverage your company ATS before posting a new job. The ideal candidate may already be registered with you!
  • Engineer a simple, automated referral program with creative/tiered incentives. Referrals from employees, vendors and even clients are an amazing (yet frequently overlooked) source of high-quality candidates.
  • Nix hoarding behaviors and promote candidate sharing (more on this in just a bit).

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Throwing great candidates back into the proverbial pond. When a client hires one of two exceptional candidates your team recruits, what happens to the runner-up? In many staffing firms, candidates who are not hired are simply re-shelved in the database. What a waste!

A smarter option? Present those ready-to-hire superstars to other clients with similar roles – whether or not they have an active job order with you. Create a formal system for proactively marketing the A-level talent your team has worked so hard to recruit. Your team has already invested a ton of effort prepping and vetting these individuals, promoting them just makes good business sense.

Hoarding candidates. Do your recruiters get territorial when it comes to their candidates? It’s a pretty common – and very unfortunate – practice in our industry. And with talent shortages at critical levels in many fields, it’s an unspoken rule that absolutely must be broken.

Great candidates are tough to recruit and only on the market for a short time. So do whatever you can to move recruiters from a hoarding to a sharing mindset. Here are a few ideas to start the shift:

  • Explain the negative impact candidate hoarding has on your business (e.g., fueling divisiveness, increasing time-to-hire, missing out on additional placements).
  • Establish formal policies for recruiters to keep one another up-to-date on hot recruits, new passive talent and other promising prospects.
  • Adjust your compensation strategies to reward placement “assists” (i.e., when a recruiter refers their candidate to another for placement).

Not allowing employees to use their own devices. I actually understand why staffing employers “frown upon” BYOD. In addition to the obvious IT issues, allowing your team members to use their own tech creates a number of concerns ranging from tracking time worked outside the office to protecting sensitive information.

But the fact is, employees are often most comfortable and efficient using their own devices. What’s more, their smartphones and tablets have become indispensable tools for staying connected and performing their jobs effectively. It’s time to get with the (BYOD) program and develop a smart implementation policy:

  • Know what tech your employees are using.
  • Define minimum acceptable device standards to head off problems with security and supportability.
  • Clearly communicate which devices are allowed, to prevent employees from purchasing unsupported devices.
  • Establish formal procedures and guidelines for storing candidate, client and company information.
  • Provide emergency plans for situations in which equipment is lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Create a written policy for handling BYOD technology in the event an employee quits or is terminated.
  • Review your program annually. Tech changes so rapidly, you must re-examine your policy regularly to make sure it’s relevant, comprehensive, and compliant.

Looking for a better staffing model?

If unwritten rules, lack of structure, or ineffective policies are holding your staffing firm back, consider the advantages PrideStaff has to offer. Our unique franchise system can help you run a more efficient, profitable business by leveraging our state-of-the-art technology, national resources, and proven processes.

MORE: Turn your seasonal employees into your top performers


Tammi Heaton

Tammi Heaton
Tammi Heaton is COO of PrideStaff. She can be reached at theaton (at) pridestaff (dot) com.

Tammi Heaton

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