We’ve all worked for a great recruiter who was a terrible manager! You may be a great manager but this article will nonetheless help you think about how you can further improve the performance of your business through better delegation.

There is an irony to recruitment firm structures – we promote our most successful billers to management giving them less time to make money for both us and them. Yes - excellence in one role is a likely indicator of good performance in a different role, however, when great recruiters are in short demand, is there a different way that might improve retention of your best billers as well as growth and profitability?

Offer alternative career development paths - many recruiters don’t relish the idea of line management but will apply for team leader roles nonetheless if it is the only career progression available. Offering separate consultant and managerial development paths may improve morale (people who don’t want to line manage often do it poorly), retention and productivity leading to better retention and profitability. 

Reduce the administrative burden - while critical, administration also reduces time spent billing and is loved by few recruiters. Management should explore at how admin levels can be reduced for top billers. For example, can consultants make a business case for more researcher or secretarial support?

Extra time freed up for your top billers should not simply be used to bill more. Big billers have habitats, strategies, techniques and tactics that make them particularly successful and ensuring they share the reasons for their success, for example, by getting them to run training sessions for their colleagues, will help deliver the best results for your business.

Making yourself more efficient
As a general rule, the lowest paid person capable of doing a job should be doing it. Try listing your weekly activities (every last one) on paper and then labelling each one A, B or C. ‘A’ is for tasks that you should be doing. ‘B’ is for tasks you would like to delegate but where you need to skill up others first. ‘C’ is usually admin that can be delegated to more junior people freeing you up to grow the business and generate revenues.

If you can make more time for yourself, then the chances are you can make more time for the rest of the team.

Alex Arnot is non executive director to more than 20 recruitment consultancies.