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Sales recruitment and employee ‘buy back’

Employee ‘buy back’, a candidate being persuaded to stay by their current employer when they resign, continues to be an ongoing challenge for the recruitment industry. There are various reasons for this trend but the main reason is that line managers do not want to lose their best people or deal with the disruption that their departure inevitably creates. There is also often the financial element to consider when a top salesperson moves on such as lost revenue and the cost/time it takes to hire a replacement.  

What can employers do to prevent a situation where they need to buy back a sales employee?

Staff retention should be higher up on employers’ agendas. Being able to offer the following in a fun but challenging working environment goes a long way to prevent good people looking to move on: 
  • Continued opportunities to progress
  • Competitive compensation with performance-related bonuses
  • Clear strategy/vision of where the business is going
  • Empowering and influential management who lead by example

Top three tips on how an employer should handle a ‘buy back’ situation 

As an employer, of course you would prefer to keep your best sales people but you should also consider the potential consequences of expediting a promotion or vastly increasing someone’s salary and the effect it could have on the rest of the team/business.
1. Make sure you fully understand their reason/s for wanting to leave the company
2. Don’t overtly put down the organisation they are looking to join; this will appear disingenuous
3. Talk about what would excite them enough to stay (role, location, money etc)

Effect of ‘buy back’ on sales recruitment

Exceptional sales people remain in relatively short supply and they are the candidates that every client wants to hire. They are also the people that employers don’t want to lose and so businesses are going above and beyond to retain these top performers, typically by offering significant financial incentives to stay. Unfortunately, this situation magnifies the problem of the candidate-led market that exists right now. The lack of high calibre candidates actively out in the market and open to new opportunities is resulting in far fewer candidates to select from when an employer is hiring. 

Pros and cons of buying back an employee

  • You have retained a good employee, at least for the short-term, and minimised disruption to the team, revenue stream, client base etc.
  • You have had to offer something you previously may not have done to retain that individual, calling into question whether that person really deserves that promotion, salary increase etc. 
  • You now have an individual who’s head has been turned calling into question their ongoing loyalty and commitment to the cause. Inevitably that person will at some point move on because of the fundamental reasons why they looked elsewhere in the first place.
  • If word gets out that you are prepared to ‘buy back’ people that resign using various incentives then others may use that as leverage to better their own circumstances within the firm.
For more information on how to handle a buy back situation, or for sales recruitment services, find out more from Michael Page Sales.