When Did You Last Re-Recruit Your Team?

I just read an interview with Linda Heasley, president and chief executive of The Limited. Here’s an excerpt that I really like:

I believe that my associates can work anywhere they want, and my job is to re-recruit them every day and give them a reason to choose to work for us and for me as opposed to anybody else.

Heasley even raises the bar on employee expectations:

I encourage people: “Go out and find out what the market bears. You should do that and then come back and help me figure out what you need in your development that you’re not getting, because we owe you that.”

My take: This is the right attitude. Every manager should take on the personal responsibility of making their team members continuously chose to be on their team. Often times, that means preparing them with skills to leave the team… or to leave the company. When you can no longer re-recruit someone, it’s probably time for him/her to leave.

Leaders in high-performing organizations don’t treat employees like indentured servants; they inspire them, lead them, grow them, support them, and engage them in the mission of the company. That’s why Employee Engagement is one of the four customer experience competencies.

This is captured quite well in a quote from Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines:

…the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing basis, the fewer hierarchies and control mechanisms you need.

The bottom line: Would your employees re-chose to work for you?

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

9 Responses to When Did You Last Re-Recruit Your Team?

  1. Anne Wood says:

    I totally endorse your points and contributors comments. An organisation that has lost its employees engagement is stale, ageing and no fun to work for.

    My own company recognised that it was in danger of losing the ‘magic’ and has taken enormous strides over the past 18mths to redress this, including looking at all the jobs roles and making sure that they reflect the future and not the past. Those colleagues that are engaged come along with you on this journey and the company is re-energised. Those that don’t and resist change and don’t believe their jobs need to be brought up to date probably wouldn’t re-choose to work for us. Either way the company grows and succeeds.
    It takes inspired leadership, courage and vision but it works.

    Personally, I encourage my own people to want my job, to find out what’s outside in their sphere of expertise, to go to seminars and conferences, to read and write blogs and be seen as influencers. They are then equipped to stay or go, being the best they can be.

  2. This reminds me of a great post by Seth Godin who made the case that the manager works for the employee and not the other way around. Too often we see managers in their top down power positions commandeering their employees. Kelleher and Heasley have got the right idea when they see that they have to unblock the path for their employees to be the most productive and to grow to the best of their abilities. Kudos to The Limited and Southwest.

  3. Pingback: Re-recruiting employees « The Comparative Advantage

  4. Great post! It is so refreshing to see the business community discussing this topic and more importantly in this context. Historically most companies viewed employee experience as a luxury, something they would invest in if they could afford it, companies that did put employee experience as a top priority were far and few between. Bottom line is that your customer experience will not exceed your employee experience, in other words your employee experience sets the potentiality for your customer experience. I explore this further in a recent post of mine focused on the importance of culture in your corporate environment. I believe if you want to be successful with customer experience you need to start by examining the key elements of your corporate environment first. http://dawnamaclean.com/2010/07/04/part-3-of-7-what-does-your-corporate-culture-reveal/

    Anne, kudos to you and the leadership team at your company!

  5. So what do companies tacitly “say” to employees when they insist on placing employees into narrow and arbitrary buckets? Or when employees who leave aren’t backfilled with new talent?

    Not only are these companies not “recruiting” their teams, they are actively (if silently) pushing their star employees into the workforce in what I call the “golden employee paradox”: http://bit.ly/buVLWI

  6. Tabitha Dunn says:

    Good article. I’m pretty passionate about this concept myself. I’m a big believer in supporting my team in their growth and I’ve seen the reward of doing that. I know that each of us own our own career but I believe that a good leader is passionate and active about growing and challenging their people.

    Thank you for sharing.

  7. Claudia says:

    Now this is the sign of an incredible leader!

    I worked for a man who would “jokingly” comment about firing us, almost daily. He wasn’t laughing when I left for a better job.

  8. Pingback: Improve “Purposeful Leadership” In 2011 « Customer Experience Matters

  9. Pingback: Designing and Building Culture at a Startup: Three Keys to Keep in Mind « Breaking Glass by Rishi Dean

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