Finding and retaining great talent is at the heart of sustained organic growth. If the goal is to grow then the approach to recruiting needs to match.
Reactive recruiting is waiting until an employee leaves and then reactively looking to replace them. Reactive recruiting puts the agency in the unenviable position of attempting to attract good talent from a position of weakness. Being reactive usually creates a never ending cycle of "desperation hires" that rarely live up to expectations. Reactive recruiting is almost impossible to get right because the immediate needs of the agency end up overshadowing the need to be highly selective when considering the next hire.
Opportunistic recruiting means the agency holds off hiring anyone until they come across just the right talent. If an agency has built a great brand and the person they come across truly fits the ongoing strategy, opportunistic hires will strengthen and even grow the agency. However, the growth of the agency is slowed by being closely tied to the broader hiring market and the availability of strong talent. Opportunistic hiring is, by definition, impossible to plan for from a timing standpoint.
Intentional recruiting starts with planning for and being committed to organic growth. The "who" and the "when" of the growth plan is determined in advance based on the opportunity to grow, which always exists in the world of mid-market agencies. The agency works to become, and to market themselves as, a distinct employer of choice. This can only happen with a clear understanding of what it takes to attract talent as part of a sound strategy and plan.
We've all been guilty of planning to hire seasoned producers or experienced account managers only to find that the available talent leaves something to be desired. Planning to hire people who simply cannot be found, or can only be found at too high a price, is not a workable plan. The woes of finding experienced talent in our industry are widely known, so what is to be done?
If the growth plan and hiring plan are going to be predictable and sustainable then the sources of talent have to be predictable and sustainable. This is where entry level and college recruiting come into play. If the agency is setup for attracting and developing raw talent, which can actually be found, then recruiting stops being the wildcard factor in the growth plan. By eliminating bottlenecks to talent acquisition and development, the agency becomes one step closer to becoming scalable. Scalability is the idea that a company can grow at a very high rate because they are not limited by their own processes or availability of prospects, talent or other critical resources. Without consistent sources of talent, a company can never be scalable.
Just about any agency can attract, train, and retain great raw talent and do so in a way that contributes to profitable growth. Knowing where to find the best college grads, figuring out how to win them over, and then training and keeping them are unique capabilities that agencies will have to develop if they plan to grow in an industry with such a talent shortage.
Atlante Partners helps drive organic growth by developing and executing intentional recruiting plans in close coordination with agencies committed to growth. If you are interested in discussing the ways your agency can grow with college and entry level talent, please reach out.