Finding and keeping quality producers is key to long-term growth, increased sales, and greater profitability for every link in the distribution chain: company, firm, producer.
It sounds simple, but recruiting is one of the toughest jobs field managers face. Why field managers? Why not the home office? Because successful recruiting is done in the field.
The home office provides support and incentives, but when push comes to shove, it is the leadership in the field that gets the recruiting job done.
A Culture of Recruiting
From top to bottom–from home office and field leaders to top producers and agency staff–everyone must be involved in recruiting. They must buy into a consistent message about the company and the firm. They must know what the companys vision is, understand the career potential, and appreciate the value the local firm offers candidates.
Perhaps most important, they must be able to articulate this information, even if in slightly different ways, to anyone who asks–because each contact is a potential recruit. The basic message must be the same and also must be one that the speakers believe. If the message is communicated by people who dont believe what theyre saying, that disbelief can come across loud and clear.
This “culture of recruiting” doesnt happen overnight. An infrastructure must be built to ensure that the message is a real one. Any company can boast of having the best, most competitive product line, sales support and compensation package around. If it doesnt deliver on this message, however, recruits soon find out through other sources and go elsewhere.
Creating the Infrastructure for Recruiting
From a company perspective, an effective infrastructure includes a clear vision and the core values the company stands for. Potential recruits should know, at a glance, where the company wants to go and how it intends to get there. The vision should include measurements as well. The company must put in place everything needed for success in this business: a top-quality product line, knowledgeable sales and marketing support, operational excellence, a strong broker/dealer, and, of course, a competitive compensation and benefits package.
Many companies will choose among these basic “must haves” and enhance them with their own unique twists or special features that can allow the company to stand apart from the crowd.
Producers and field managers should be on the lookout for these types of enhancements–they show a companys commitment to continually improving and trying to offer more to those in the field. It will show that a company is “producer-centric” in its way of thinking, delivering services, and in nurturing great careers.
Local firm infrastructure is just as critical. First, firms must have strong field managers who have developed their own recruiting plan. While tied to the goals of the company, the firms plan should focus on its own growth goals and specify tactics and techniques suited to its expertise and markets.
The plan must be owned and embraced by the entire agency. The plan should also include reward programs that provide incentives to reach the firms goals.