Re-Recruit Your Top Talent…If You Want Loyalty, Buy A Dog!

If you want to retain your best workers it takes hard work! Gone are the days when employees would stay at a firm and make it a career. It’s no longer true in professional sports, and it’s no longer true in the business world. I am constantly amazed at the ignorance or arrogance that managers demonstrate when they criticize workers for their lack of loyalty. It’s time to realize that top talent is in constant demand in a highly competitive market. Top talent at major high-tech firms, for example, get an average of three calls a week from recruiters. Assuming that your top talent is not going to get a better offer than their current job is arrogant! Assuming that top talent is not looking is naive at best. Take continuous offers as a given. You job as a manager then becomes relatively simple. Your job is to assure that the best offer comes from within the firm as opposed to from outside it! Re-recruit your top talent Re-recruiting is simply applying the tools and strategies of external recruiting to your current employees. It means that instead of waiting and then having to compete against other offers, a manager proactively makes a compelling internal offer to its top talent on a periodic basis. Steps in the re-recruiting process include:

  • Assume the best are getting recruiter calls and outside offers. Adopt the strategy that no one will stay at your firm longer than one year without being re-recruited. Drop loyalty from your vocabulary and assume you must continually excite top talent if you are to keep them.


Article Continues Below
  • Identify which employees are in high demand. Ask your internal recruiters and external search professionals to help you identify hot jobs and individuals whom maybe at risk. Consider searching the Web to identify which of your own employees are currently looking.
  • Ask your current employees to help you to keep the team together by identifying those they feel are risk of leaving.
  • Identify the elements of typical offers for each key position by looking at the “other” offers that your new hires received. Ask executive search professionals to periodically update you on the offers that other similar professionals are getting in the outside market.
  • Tell your current employees how important they are on a periodic basis. Ask them for the professional courtesy to notify you when they might consider an external offer.
  • Ask your current top talent to describe their dream job and where they would like to be in the next year.
  • Ask your current employees what frustrates them in their current job.
  • Prepare a personalized offer for each of your top employees and deliver it to them on a periodic basis (between 3 and 12 months).
  • Prepare an instant counteroffer strategy in case the above approach fails.

Conclusion With a four percent unemployment rate, top talent have become “free agents.” The negative image of “job-jumping” is gone. Instead of being upset that your top talent is getting offers, look upon it as a sign that you have hired and developed your talent to the point that everyone wants them. Your job as a manager now becomes simple. Tell your top talent how important they are to the firm and continually provide them with (internal) compelling offers that are superior to the external ones they are invariably getting! Those that hesitate…will lose!

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website and on He lives in Pacifica, California.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *