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Watch over your sheep

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How many vacancies does your organisation currently have open? And how many colleagues have left your company in the past year? Tell me honestly; are you satisfied with this balance?


Almost every day we’re confronted with news about the tight labour market; 10,000 technicians / technicians wanted, 25,000 employees wanted in care and welfare, and what about the aging population in education and teachers who are retiring en masse? HR and recruitment once again have a voice at the board.


What’s the effect of this development? Recruitment and selection agencies work overtime, with head-hunters just about hanging out at the front door or in the bushes. Some employees dare to ‘hop’ again for an additional 10% on their salary from their new employer. The first reflex at many companies is to fully focus on new recruitment, setting up fast onboarding and traineeships.


That first impression is certainly not wrong. After all, you have to do something because of the challenge that exists. Yet, I like to challenge companies to pay more attention to the sheep with the five legs. The ideal candidate. The talent that doesn’t need onboarding. In short, the current good employee. I like to call him/her ‘the additional worker’. This additional worker is motivated, enjoys working, and offers added value for the organisation. He/she is the expert, and can deliver added value in many disciplines.


If this very loyal employee sees that the new employees get the most attention, he/she may even start to doubt whether it’s still the best place to work. In addition, he/she is given the important but difficult task of training the new recruits. Slowly, the grass on the other side becomes greener, and as the saying goes: “If there’s one sheep across the dam…”


Five tips to preserve the five-legged sheep:

  1. Find out who your ‘additional workers’ are, and show them that they’re important to the organisation.

  2. Ask them what would inspire them to get out of bed five minutes earlier every morning. Make sure that this is implemented as much as possible.

  3. Give them a role in recruitment, give them a role in one of the recruitment films, a photo shoot or a blog on the website.

  4. Challenge them to look for new ‘additional workers’ for the organisation.

  5. Only give them a role in the induction process if they intrinsically like it (and of course if it’s necessary).


For the additional worker, it’s usually important to have a balance between practicing his/her own profession and having the role of ambassador to the labour market. Look for the optimal balance together!


Ben Verhagen

Founding Partner

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