An Inside Job

The New Normal. Unprecedented. Great Resignation. Ugh.

We’re all sick and tired of these COVID-inspired buzzwords, and even more frustrated having to actually navigate their implications. With a global reset, people are viewing work and jobs and family and geography very differently than the innocent bygone years of the 2010’s.

As leaders, it’s no small task to adapt to these changing conditions while managing to keep things moving forward in the face of volatility and ambiguity. Business pundits advise that we must pull out all the stops to recruit new talent, lest we suffer corporate Armageddon.  But we may just be looking in the wrong direction.

Instead of recruiting externally, what if we reframed the approach to recruiting internally? Like many romances, we tend to wine-and-dine fresh candidates with the fervor of a groupie at a rock concert. But once the deal is closed, we neglect to water the relationship seeds, choosing instead to pursue our next conquest.  All the while, the people that are already on board, committed, passionate, and well-trained can feel deeply neglected and under-appreciated.

Whether you run a company, lead a family, participate in a community sports league, or volunteer at a local school, focusing on the existing team can be far more productive than endlessly longing for someone new.  If people’s performance is stagnant, maybe they’re missing the excitement they felt in the early days of the gig. Let’s stop taking our existing team for granted and start demonstrating the same enthusiasm and care that we exhibited when we first met.

If we can show up fully for those we’re trying to bring into the fold, let’s do the same for the people that are already in our orbit.  When we embrace the ‘always recruiting’ mindset with our existing team, we’ll see performance and morale spike while turnover and apathy plummet. Yes, it’s always fun to pursue the next-next thing, but when we invest that same spark in the people already around us, we’ll enjoy far better outcomes.

In this ‘new normal’ (insert groan), recruiting is no longer just an external practice. It’s an inside job.