By Bob Marshall | Wednesday December 27, 2012
Planning for 2013
The US general election is over and the various races have been decided. Your client companies, who have been waiting for some definition to the future, have it now. Cash will start flowing into hiring because it must. Most company’s manpower has been spread too thin for too long. How robust our recovery will be depends on many factors (*see my monthly BLS Analyses), but hiring will expand. So now is the time to set your goals for 2013 to take advantage of this new hiring dynamic.
Begin at the Beginning
When you contemplate any new venture, you want to make sure that you are not bringing any old baggage with you. You want to approach new goal setting with a blank slate—‘a tabula rasa’. Have you ever been in an upscale restaurant and the waiter brings you a sorbet between courses so that you can cleanse your palette of any previous taste before trying the next course? That’s the perspective we want to operate from as we set our new goals for 2013. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past. We want to leave them in the past. How many times have we heard the famous quote that, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?” Let’s not be insane as we plan for the future.
Sometimes, in this cleansing phase, it is beneficial to revisit some literature that has moved you in the past. I like to re-read, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. In his little book, which is chock full of great advice, Don Miguel covers the four agreements we need to make with ourselves. In abbreviated format, they are to speak with integrity; not to take anything personally; not to make assumptions; and to always do your best. I will let you discover the wisdom of this book yourself, but I believe that Don Miguel sets the stage so that we can be successful in any new endeavor.
The Five Central Principles of Goal Setting
1. Your goals must be in writing – if they are not in writing they are ‘wishes’, not ‘goals’.
2. They must be vividly imagined – pictures of your goals at your desk are good here.
3. They must be ardently desired – you must really, really want them.
4. You must be committed to attaining your goals.
5. You must have an ‘accountability partner’ – someone to whom you report your progress toward your goals on a regular basis.
If these five principles are in play, then the goals exist and you will have a good shot of attaining them. At the end of the day, goal setting can be fun. Stay with me. It’s easier than you think!
Yearly Planning Worksheet*
Now let’s look at what you want to personally produce, on your own desk, in 2013. This does not include the production of your recruiters. Once we get your goal number, we can break it down and tell you what you need to do on a daily basis to reach that number.
Let’s say that we set your new goal at $500,000 for 2013. I am going to modify this number a little and use $508,032 to make my math easier for you to follow. This is how it works…
1. Take the $508,032 and add to it any fixed and variable expenses which will be incurred during the year, especially office expenses. Let’s say, in your case, your expenses are already taken care of from the income earned from your recruiters, so we don’t add anything to your initial number. This is Net Cash-In.
2. Now take the $508,032 and divide this by .90 for the fall-off factor. Big Billers feel that if they can keep their fall-off factor at less than 10%, that is acceptable, keeping in mind that fall-offs do occur, many times through no fault of our own. So we get a new number of $564,480. This is Net Billing
3. Now take the $564,480 and divide this by .98 for the bad debt factor. Big Billers feel that if they can keep their bad debt factor at less than 2%, then that is acceptable, especially in this economy. So we get a new number of $576,000. This is Gross Billing.
4. Now take the $576,000 and divide this by your average fee of $18,000. That will give us 32. So you need to make 32 placements in 2013 to achieve your goal of $500,000. This is Net Placements.
Now let’s proceed to Level Two:
1. Take those 32 placements and divide by 12 months. You need to make 2.7 placements per month.
2. Now take those 32 placements and multiple them by your Send Out First (SO1) to Placement Ratio of 7:1. All Big Billers know their SO1-Placement ratio. That number is 224, on a yearly basis. Divide that number by 52 weeks and you get 4.3. You need to arrange 4.3 SO1s per week.
3. Now take those 32 placements and multiple them by your Job Order (JO) to Placement Ratio of 4:1. All Big Billers know their JO-Placement ratio. That number is 128, on a yearly basis. Divide that number by 52 weeks and you get 2.5. You need to write 2.5 JOs per week.
4. Now take the number of Send Outs arranged on a yearly basis (224) and multiple those by 10 because it generally takes a Big Biller 10 connect calls with the Hiring Manager (HM) to arrange one SO1. That number is 2240 (yearly). Divide 2240 by 260 (workdays in a year) and we get 8.6. Ben needs to make 8.6 marketing ‘connect’ calls per day.
5. Now take the number of placements (32) and multiple them by your Recruit Hit (Rec) to Placement Ratio of 8:1. All Big Billers know their Rec-Placement ratio. Now take that number and multiple it by 10 because it generally takes a Big Biller 10 connect calls with a potential Recruit before they recruit one. That number is 2560 (yearly). Divide 2560 by 260 (workdays in a year) and we get 9.8. You need to make 9.8 recruiting ‘connect’ calls per day.
If you achieve all of those activity goals, you will reach your main 2013 goal of $500,000.
And there you have it. Pretty simple, no?
*(for more information on the planning worksheet, contact me directly).
Do you remember when you were in school and were eagerly anticipating your two week winter break and your most demanding teacher gave you a book report to complete during the break when you had more fun activities planned? Well, what did you do? You did what most of the rest of us did. You waited until the night before you were to return to school to read the entire book and write the report. But not everyone did it that way. The honor students took that book, divided it into fourteen manageable daily segments, completed their assignments on time and still had time for all of their fun activities. You remember them don’t you? They’re the ones who got all of the “A’s” and screwed up the bell curve.
Well, we can take those honor student lessons and apply them to our recruiting profession.
The Quarterly Modularized Goal Sheet
Now let’s take a couple of numbers from your Yearly Planning Worksheet and use them to construct your Quarterly Goal Sheets.
Keeping in mind that there are 13 weeks in a quarter, not 12, let’s draw up two charts:
1. Production Chart
Let’s take your Gross Billing number of $576,000 and divide it by 4 (4 quarters in a year). That gives us $144,000. You need to bill $144,000 per quarter to attain his goal. Let’s divide $144,000 by 13 weeks and we get $11,077. You need to produce $11,077 (or more) per week. In week two, you need to have produced at least $22,154 (11,077 x 2). In week three, you need to have produced at least $33,231 ($11,077 x 3), etc.
Now get out some graph paper. Number from 1 to 13 (weeks in a quarter) on the horizontal axis and put in the $ numbers on the vertical axis ($11,077 on the first line, $22,154 on the second line, etc.). Fill in thirteen lines. Your last line should read $144,001. Now draw a gradual “tracking” line from the bottom left to the upper right of your graph. When you are finished you will have completed your first quarterly $ production chart.
At the end of each week, you will look at your production and, above the appropriate week, put a dot. Then, over the thirteen weeks, you will just connect the dots. As long as you stay on track, you will produce $144,000 in this quarter.
Now for chart #2
2. Placements Made Chart
Let’s take your Net Placement number of 32 and divide it by 4 (4 quarters in a year). That gives us 8. You need to make 8 placements per quarter to attain your goal. Let’s divide 8 by 13 weeks and we get .62. You need to make .62 of a placement (or more) per week. In week two, you need to have made at least 1.24 (.62 x 2). In week three, you need to have made at least 1.86 (.62 x 3), etc.
Now get out some more graph paper. Number from 1 to 13 (weeks in a quarter) on the horizontal axis and put in the placements made numbers on the vertical axis (.62 on the first line, 1.24 on the second line, etc.). Fill in thirteen lines. Your last line should read 8.06. Now draw a gradual “tracking” line from the bottom left to the upper right of your graph. When you are finished you will have completed your first quarterly ‘placements made’ chart.
At the end of each week, you will look at your ‘placements made’ and, above the appropriate week, put a dot. Then, over the thirteen weeks, you will just connect the dots. As long as you stay on, or above, the “tracking” line, you will make 8 placements in this quarter.
Not bad, huh? Maybe those honor students were right after all!
Here is some advice for those of you with larger operations—translated that means for those of you who don’t work by yourself.
Mike Crosswell was a colleague of mine and a friend. I met Mike during the mid-1990s when I was frequently travelling to the UK to train and coach recruiters and recruiter managers. Mike was the owner of Blue Arrow, the largest privately-owned staffing organization in the UK.
One night, over dinner, Mike explained to me how they ‘goal set’ at Blue Arrow. Mike told me that he had too often seen recruitment firms let their coming year’s goals be set for them by their individual recruiters instead of by upper management. In other words, the goal commitments were coming solely from the “bottom up” instead of from the “top down”. In business schools, they call this “undercut management”. Mike wanted to blend the top down and bottom up approaches to goal setting.
Mike explained that at Blue Arrow they collaborate with their managers to decide what their total revenue will be for the coming year. Then, when the individual managers return to their offices with their assigned revenue goals, they divide and assign portions to each of their recruiters based on the recruiter’s past revenue flow histories and future projections. To allow each recruiter to take ownership of their goal, the manager asks each one, “Can you attain that number?” If they answer “yes”, then the goal is set in concrete. If they answer “no”, or say that they are not sure, this follow-up question is asked, “What can I do, as your manager, to ensure that you hit this number?”
At the end of this process, which is much like cutting up an apple pie, the manager has developed a consensus with his/her recruiters and knows what the recruiters expect from management to help guarantee the recruiter’s individual numbers.
By using Mike Crosswell’s format, Blue Arrow constantly hit their goals and eliminated year-end surprises. It’s as simple as that.
It is clear that you teach best by what you actually do. If you are a good role model for your office, your recruiters will follow your lead. If you are not a good role model for your recruiters, they will still follow your lead. You lead best through positive modeling.
In one study, recruiters stressed that the help they viewed as the most valuable from their managers was practical, situation-specific advice offered in a positive manner.
The secondary motivators were:
1. Attention, approval and recognition from the manager and the other recruiters;
2. The satisfaction that comes from belonging to a cohesive work group;
3. The status and recognition that comes from being recognized as “expert” in some aspect of the work;
4. The challenge and variety possible in the work.
I want to make one final point. Always remember that you need to be positive in the implementation of your goals. If you say that you can’t do something, your subconscious mind, which makes up 90% of your brain and controls your behavior, will agree with you and you will fail. Your subconscious mind is there to protect you and will help you to be successful if you give it the proper reinforcement. So make sure that you are always giving positive signals to your subconscious. If you are having trouble being positive, here’s a helpful hint. Try this quote, “People are amazed at how good I am at ________” (you fill in the blank). Since your subconscious doesn’t know negation, it will agree with you and your life will change! Activities that were your weakest will now become your strongest. I promise you that this works.
So now your goals are set for a highly productive New Year 2013. Let’s make 2013 your best year ever. You deserve it and it is there for the taking!