As I approach my two-year anniversary of returning to Salt after a stint away at a competitor, I reflect on the rare and sometimes frowned upon experience of being a boomerang employee and what it takes to transform a recruitment team.

(Boomerang Employee is defined as any employee who returns to work for a former employer)

I left Salt after 2.5 years’ service for pastures new in February 2017, returning in November the same year.

Coming back to the business after a 7-month break had many challenges. I had left behind a high performing team of passionate and driven specialist recruiters and returned to a totally different reality.

And so, in November 2017 I embarked on a journey to recover and rebuild a once thriving division within Salt. Two years on we are now a team of 15 specialist Product and Engineering recruiters who partner with some incredible companies in the UK and Europe. We work across contingency, retained assignments and have also added onsite embedded solutions to our portfolio. 

We are one of the highest performing divisions within Salt globally and have increased sales by over 100% in 24 months.

This has undoubtedly been a challenge. Not only returning to a company where everything had changed, but also road mapping and rebuilding a division from the ground up.

Looking back here are the top tips I would offer to anyone embarking on a similar challenge.

Breathe and be in the moment

You will be overwhelmed. New faces, new dynamics and a mountain of challenges to overcome. Breathe through these times and accept the reality of the present moment. Take it all one step at a time. Moment to moment. As soon as your mind wanders to much into the future bring your thoughts back to the present. Only then can you start to tackle the momentous task ahead.

Drop the ego

Be humble in the bad times and carry that through into the good times. Recruitment is a roller coaster, be consistent and kind, always.

Have a plan and a vision

Form a plan of what you want to achieve and how. Write it down and have markers for success. The road isn’t always smooth, but knowing where you are heading and how you will get there is a necessary document to refer back to frequently.

Data Data Data        

Every decision made, every target set, every plan, should be backed up by data. Understand what has happened before to formulate a roadmap of what is to become.Once you understand the data, take your people on a journey to understand with you.

Don’t take the world on your shoulders

Every rejection, every failed process, every let down, its hard to not take them personally. Its not serving you, and most importantly the people looking to you for leadership. Detach from the emotion, accept that not everything will go perfectly, and  “control the things within your control”.

Once you tap into this mindset the clouds will lift and everything will change.

Make the tough calls - quickly

The biggest threat to any team is poisonous and negative influences. Act swiftly to remove such influences. The team will respect you more for it and the impact will be immediate.

Trust your values and instincts when hiring

Changing the entire makeup of the team quickly, requires strong instincts and the courage to take calculated risks on people. Hire on culture and values. Only hire people you can trust and who are bought into your vision for the team. Not everyone will work out in the longer term, but each hire will add something to the team dynamic that will shape what you will become and your continual evolution.