Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


Terry Petra

Recipient of the Harold B. Nelson Award, Terry Petra is one of our industry's leading trainers and consultants. He has successfully conducted in-house programs for hundreds of search, placement, temporary staffing firms and industry groups across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, England, and South Africa. To learn more about his training products and services, including PETRA ON CALL, and BUSINESS VALUATION, visit www.tpetra.com. Terry can be reached at (651) 738-8561 or email him at Terry@tpetra.com.

Articles by Terry Petra

Fees, Staffing

Are You Leaving Money On the Table When Your Temp Goes Perm?



Sales shopping global - free

Sales shopping global - freeHaving trained or consulted with hundreds of temporary staffing services and contract staffing firms around this country, I am continually amazed by the variety of approaches utilized to handle the transfer of an employee from the staffing services payroll to the payroll of the client’s organization. The term most commonly used to describe this process is “Temp-to-Hire”.

My purpose here is not to discuss whether or not you should charge your client a conversion fee for the temp-to-hire process. Rather it is to provide you with a conceptual foundation on which to make that determination. Consider the following two realities.

For Managers, Motivation

With A Performance Contract They Fire Themselves



Results-free

Results-freeFor managers, there is one thing worse than hiring the wrong person and that is to keep that individual employed with their agency long after the collective experience dictates they should be terminated. Yet, in almost every case, managers will admit they have difficulty with making termination decisions.

From my many years of experience in working with managers in hundreds of staffing firms on both a national and international basis, I have concluded that the primary reasons for this apparent lack of decisive action include one or more of the following:

For Managers

Hiring Right Summary: Keys to Recruiting, Training and Retaining Top Agency Performers



hiring right 7

Note: This is the seventh and final article in a series on decreasing turnover and increasing profits. In the previous articles Terry discussed turnover  (High Turnover Is NOT Just Part of the Business), who to hire (What It Takes to Attract and Hire Recruiting Winners), setting expectations (Your Onboarding Should Not Be Like A Box of Chocolates), training standards (When You Set Standards and Manage to Them, Everyone Knows Where They Stand), performance based training (Performance Base Your Training For Early Success), and understanding motivation to better inspire and lead a team (Improve Commitment by Understanding the Personal Nature of Motivation).

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In our series of seven articles, we have addressed the issues related to decreasing staff turnover and increasing profits. Since the series first appeared (it first began in our monthly print newsletter, The Fordyce Letter in Aug 2013), I have received hundreds of calls and emails from readers wanting to learn more about the principles and concepts presented in these articles. Based on these calls and at the request of many of you, I will attempt to summarize the key elements.

For Managers, Motivation

Improve Commitment by Understanding the Personal Nature of Motivation



hiring right 6

Note: This is the sixth article in a series on decreasing turnover and increasing profits. In the previous articles Terry discussed turnover  (High Turnover Is NOT Just Part of the Business), who to hire (What It Takes to Attract and Hire Recruiting Winners), setting expectations,  training (Your Onboarding Should Not Be Like A Box of Chocolates), standards (When You Set Standards and Manage to Them, Everyone Knows Where They Stand), and performance based training (Performance Base Your Training For Early Success).

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Decreasing turnover and increasing profits are a result of attracting, hiring, training, and retaining a productive staff that can effectively work together. However, an important factor that contributes to this is your understanding of the nature of personal motivation. This understanding is critical to achieving a realistic picture of your personal operating/management style, and it is equally important in determining “who” to hire, and “how” to train and manage them once they are on board with your firm.

Personal motivation is just that, it is personal. Therefore, in order to understand it, you must understand the person. As a starting point consider the findings of a longitudinal study by the National Science Foundation. This study concluded that:

The key to having employees who are both satisfied and productive is motivation, that is, arousing and maintaining the will to work effectively, having employees who are effective not because they are coerced but because they are committed.

For Managers, The Business of Recruiting

Performance Base Your Training For Early Success



Training illustration

hiring right 5Note: This is the fifth article in a series on decreasing turnover and increasing profits. In the previous four articles Terry discussed turnover  (High Turnover Is NOT Just Part of the Business), who to hire (What It Takes to Attract and Hire Recruiting Winners), setting expectations,  training (Your Onboarding Should Not Be Like A Box of Chocolates), and standards (When You Set Standards and Manage to Them, Everyone Knows Where They Stand).

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Are we confident because we are competent or are we competent because we are confident? Regardless of the answer, in order to be successful an individual must be both confident in their approach to, and competent in their application of the basic concepts and fundamentals of this business. Getting to that point and beyond is the objective of Performance Based Training.

How important is training in determining whether or not an individual will be successful in this business? Next to hiring the right people it may be the most important factor.

For Managers, The Business of Recruiting

When You Set Standards and Manage to Them, Everyone Knows Where They Stand



hiring right 4

Note: This is the fourth article in a series on decreasing turnover and increasing profits. In the previous three articles Terry discussed turnover  (High Turnover Is NOT Just Part of the Business), who to hire (What It Takes to Attract and Hire Recruiting Winners), and setting expectations and training (Your Onboarding Should Not Be Like A Box of Chocolates). 

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Fast-Paced! Volatile! High Risk! High Return! Competitive! Sophisticated! Pressurized! Stressful! Demanding! Exhilarating!

These are some of the terms used by managers to describe our business. However, as with most adjectives, these terms are subjective and can mean different things to different people. That is where performance standards come into the picture.

For Managers, The Business of Recruiting

Your Onboarding Should Not Be Like A Box of Chocolates



Forrest Gump box of chocolates

hiring right 3In our previous two articles (Part one: “High Turnover Is NOT Just Part of the Business“; Part two: “What It Takes to Attract and Hire Recruiting Winners“) we discussed whom to hire and how to attract them to your organization.

In this article, we will focus on one of the most overlooked functions of the selection process, that of establishing realistic expectations for the employment relationship.

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If realistic expectations are not established between you and your new employee a state of mutual mystification will result whereby neither of you will have a clear understanding of what to expect from the other. To begin the employment relationship in a state of mutual mystification is analogous to Forrest Gump’s comments about the box of chocolates, “You never know what you’re gonna get.” This can lead to fear, confusion, anxiety, and frustration on the part of your new employee, which can produce a lack of commitment and effort. Without the proper commitment and effort, failure is assured and turnover will result.

How-To, The Business of Recruiting

What It Takes to Attract and Hire Recruiting Winners



Nowork illustration-free

Note: This is the second in a series on decreasing turnover and increasing profits. In the first article Terry identified the eight major factors that contribute to staff turnover and he looked at whom to hire. In this article he discusses how to attract the right individuals (winners not whiners) to your firm.

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 A company is known by the people it keeps.

hiring right 2For most firms in our industry, whether temp, perm or search, the managers attempt to hire individuals who are intelligent, well educated, possessing solid business experience, can think on their feet, present themselves in a positive, professional manner, possess better than average interpersonal skills and are well motivated to do the job. Almost daily, these managers meet individuals who appear to possess these traits. However, most managers we have surveyed described a feeling of increased frustration at being unable to attract these good people to their firms. Over and over we hear comments like:

  • “No one wants to work on straight commission anymore.”
  • “The right people have too many good employment options available to them and, therefore, they will not give serious consideration to our business.”
  • “We can’t match what they can be offered elsewhere.”
For Managers, The Business of Recruiting

High Turnover Is NOT Just Part of the Business



hiring right part 1

Editor’s note: Today, Terry Petra begins a seven part series on recruiting’s most challenging job: recruiting, training, and retaining high performing recruiters. This series first appeared in our monthly newsletter, The Fordyce Letter. Each Thursday look for the next installment of Terry’s series, HIRING RIGHT.

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Based on the tremendous response from readers regarding my previous article on hiring top performers (“Why Can’t I Do A Better Job of Hiring?”),  I will be doing a series of articles on this most important topic.

This article diagnoses the problem and subsequent articles will offer suggested solutions.

Most everyone would agree that the most important factor in determining the long-term level of profitability for your firm is your ability to attract, hire, train, maintain and retain consistent producers. However, many owners and managers believe that having high turnover of recruiters and professional staff is just part of the business. They cite such industry-wide myths as:

How-To

How Well Can You Evaluate Your Own Hires?



Interviewing - free

Interviewing - freeHow often have you heard owners and managers of staffing firms say:

Why is it that we can be so successful in finding top performers for our clients’ organizations, yet so inept at finding them for our own?

The answer to this question lies not in the finding. Rather, it lies in the ability to evaluate. Fact be known, the majority of staffing firms are well equipped to be effective with the process of finding (recruiting). After all, this is primarily a sales function and most industry specific training focuses on the development of sales skills. Still, as important as this may be, you must develop a completely different set of skills in order to be truly effective at evaluation.