Recruiting the Best People? Grow Your Own

by | Sep 26, 2013

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Moneyball! It's the way to go, says Recruit UK’s Stuart Leaney.

moneyballMoneyball? What am I wittering on about this month, then? Isn’t that some kind of a film about baseball or something? Not the way we do things over here, old chap. And even if it did, what’s it got to do with financial services?

Well, let me lay that first query to rest. Moneyball was the title of a book written by an American author, Michael Lewis, which told the tale of how an underdog baseball team turned itself into a winner, at minimum cost, simply by employing a different type of analysis from every other team.  By the time the book made the silver screen in 2011, the Moneyball concept had already spread into other sports; and it wasn’t long before it became distilled into the general idea of buying your staff talent cheaply, then training and developing it, and finally – if needs must – selling it on at a (huge) profit.

Scarce Supply

What got me thinking about all this was a deluge of complaints from UK advisers about the difficulty of getting top-quality staff. In the aftermath of RDR, demand for the very best quality has gone stratospheric. And even when you can find these people, they demand ludicrous salaries and often don’t stay for long.


So where are all the “quality advisers” then?  Ermm, they’re working!! And in most cases bloody hard, too. Where they are not is in the job market.  Oh, to be sure, there are lots of bancassurance advisers out there in the marketplace – it’s hardly their fault that they’ve been made redundant, after all – and most have realistic salary expectations once the long-term benefits are explained to them.

But what strikes me, from the conversations I’m having with various clients, is that the employers want the best (they have to be up to our standard), but what they’re offering their recruits isn’t the best, and so won’t attract the calibre of person they think they can or want.  A bit like Stoke City moaning they can’t sign Lionel Messi.

The Moneyball Principle

Which is where we get back to the Moneyball idea. Some of my clients are grasping the grow-your-own approach to develop their businesses. And believe me, their reasons are simple yet pretty powerful:

  1. Training and developing individuals allows you to have them aligned to your business, your processes, and your standards – and without importing bad habits.
  2. It creates loyalty, trust and respect.
  3. It’s cheaper, longevity is good.
  4. It’s easier, and there’s more candidate availability.

That is not an extensive list, but I would hope an idea as to why some companies adopt the idea of buying low and reaping the rewards (long-term)

I’m in no way trying to tell people not to go for the best advisors. How you recruit and who you target is entirely up to you. But to attract the best talent, you have to have the best opportunity – a unique opportunity, or one which aligns itself perfectly to the type of person you’re trying to recruit.  If not then your opportunity is in the same jumble sale as the rest.

 Can you, with hand on heart, say (take off the rose tinted specs) that your firm can offer something better than the myriad of others?  If it doesn’t stand up against the competition, then the only way you’re going to attract that top 10% is by paying them more than anyone else and putting in place a remuneration package that rewards the advisor heavily.  A very expensive process.


What’s also important to remember is that you’re recruiting someone on the basis of a high salary and earnings potential. So who’s to say that individual won’t leave when someone comes along and offers better, because they will get headhunted and their curiosity will find them sat in an interview and may find you going through the recruitment process again, and again and again….

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