Date: November 4, 1998
From: "Mark Gray" <>
Subject: AMS-Forum How To Retain Quality Employees
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Hey folks:

As a recruiter who often benefits when those "good employees" seek greener grass with other moving companies, I thought I might share a few pieces of information that I have gleaned from numerous candidates who have sought to make a change....

Retaining good employees, from packers on up to CEO's, is absolutely critical to those of you in an industry where the profit margins are thin and your employee turnover is thick.

When I talk to my headhunter peers who service other industries, it becomes evident that the HHG industry is perhaps unequaled when it comes to employee turnover. You folks know better than I that your business is replete with candidates and their resumes that evidence the true definition of "job-hoppers". The phrase "long tenure" just doesn't apply to your typical HHG industry employee.

Anyone can point to low pay, poor benefits, limited vacation and long summer hours as standard reasons/excuses for making a jump, but it is my experience, in making a living out of trying to persuade the very best producers and most efficient to go to work for my clients, that these are not the most salient reasons underlying the desire to make a change. As a matter of fact, no one benefits in the long run if they premise their decision to leave one agency to work for another simply upon the offer of better pay or perks.

THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT REASON A GOOD EMPLOYEE LEAVES ONE JOB FOR ANOTHER IS REALLY QUITE OBVIOUS: HE/SHE FEELS UNAPPRECIATED. However trite this may sound, it really is the major issue when one decides to accept another offer. Think about it: When you are recruited by another agency, you are flattered. Your ego is boosted. Someone has taken the time and effort to seek you out, compliment you on your reputation and accomplishments, and prove their recognition of your worth by attempting to persuade you to come to work for them! This is heady stuff!

As an employer, you may very well pay above-average wages. Your benefits package and liberal vacation policy may be the most competitve in your market. You may pride yourself on the industry-leading working conditions you provide your employees. However, if you don't address the simple matter of recognizing good effort and complimenting on a job well done, the luster of your generous benefits package will soon dull in the minds of your employees.

I can't tell you how often candidates open up to me with their petty complaints. Taken alone, these more trivial complaints rarely add up to enough to make a compelling case for that employee to make a change. However, I know I have a chance to move a candidate if that candidate lets it be known that the real basis for their frustration with their present employer is that the employer simply doesn't "stroke" the employee enough. When an outsider comes in and tries to recruit that employee, in effect the recruiter supplies that missing link: the direct personal compliment/recognition on a job well done! Couple that with an offer of employement that is just a little sweeter than the employee's present package, and bingo, the recruiter makes another placement.

I have lost out on dozens of quality candidates, all of which were offered better salaries and benefits, many times with stronger companies who could offer the candidate a better opportunity for professional growth, only to be turned down by the candidate because he/she let it be known that not only did they enjoy their present job, but they felt loyalty to their employer because that employer let them know, in no uncertain terms, how good a job that employee was doing and how valuable they were to the agency. I'm a good recruiter, but I'm not good enough to persuade those lucky HHG employees to make a change. And you know what?...Good for them!

Sorry for the long, rambling discourse. (P.S.: Don't pass this information around to too many people--it could hurt this "headhunter's" bottom line).

Also, check with the AMSA's fax on demand service---they publish a nice little document on how to retain good employees....OK, that's all you folks are gonna get out of me on this subject!

Mark Gray Movers Search Group, Inc.
Professional Recruiting And Staffing For The HHG and Relocation Industries

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