Part 2 of Camino Partners’ interview with Ben Browning of Resonant Recruitment Development sees us discussing L&D’s different uses and their relationship with business strategy, as well as L&D ROI and its measurement.
L&D and business strategy
“Historically, some have seen L&D as a tool for retention”, Ben says, as it has traditionally been a useful tool for maintaining an employee’s sense of personal development and fulfilment, while also facilitating a pipeline for internal hiring into vacant positions. But L&D is increasingly becoming a “powerful weapon for differentiation”.
“As businesses look to create more value for their clients and think more strategically around the services they provide”, there is growing recognition that L&D is a foundational part of business strategy in the recruitment sector. If you pitch your company on the basis of unique services that you can provide, your consultants must be able to sell these properly.
Additionally, Ben points out, “the war for talent is crushing people’s time to hire and pipeline conversion rate. So having the skills to find, engage and influence candidates through the recruitment process is more important than ever”. As recruitment companies seek to bring in entry-level consultants to maximise growth in a booming market, training that provides a solid basis in the fundamentals while being as efficient as possible is invaluable.
Assessing L&D ROI
Putting himself in the shoes of a recruitment leader, Ben says there are a range of “key levers to pull” when it comes to assessing L&D ROI, including job fill rate, average placement value and consultant capacity.
But this varies according to circumstance and the primary focus of L&D at a business – given that most recruitment firms are seeking to bring on and provide effective training to new consultants, tracking their progress is likely to be a key metric for measuring L&D ROI. Ben identifies fundamentals such as “winning and working the right quality of business, sourcing and disqualifying candidates quickly, managing their desks to increase capacity and developing the sales skills to drive up average placement value over time.”
He is keen to stress, however, that you should not expect to see significant development of your junior consultants or strong ROI on L&D if you are only providing them with training during their onboarding periods, and notes that successful development of entry-level consultants remains “a real challenge for so many businesses”. This makes it even more crucial to have “the right development processes in place”. Long term success requires “ongoing coaching and support” to ensure continual development.
As discussed in Part 1 of our interview with Ben, L&D trends pre-pandemic were largely focused on unlocking a next level of performance for established consultants and finetuning the abilities of high performers. Post-pandemic, this has largely taken a back seat to headcount expansion and the successful development of junior consultants but is likely to return to the fore in the future.
As the industry landscape gradually returns to normality, the desire for high-calibre, specialised L&D that can give experienced consultants an edge will once again come into high demand. For Ben, the main metrics to look out for are capacity increase and fill rate improvement - developing a consultant’s skills allows them to work smarter, taking on better roles at a higher rate and avoiding bad roles for the sake of volume, leading to an increased average fee size.
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