The Seattle Seahawks throttled my team, the Denver Broncos, in the Super Bowl last year. Yet these two teams were the most aggressive in signing free agents to upgrade their teams during the off-season. As a result, both are odds-on favorites to repeat as the teams in next year’s Superbowl.

When it comes to acquiring top talent, champions are never satisfied with the status quo. Winning organizations are always seeking to get better by upgrading each and every position whenever they can.

When the economy is depressed, jobs are hard to come by and employers hold the upper hand. As the economy improves, talent becomes more scarce and employers have a more difficult time attracting and retaining key people as the balance of power shifts. Look around, folks, ’cause there’s a shift taking place now.

So when is the best time to be actively recruiting talent for your organization?

Always.

You should ABC (Always Be Canvassing)

I use the term ‘canvassing’ as a tribute to those people who volunteer their time and energies for political causes, candidates they align with, and ballot isabc-blockssues they believe in. Canvassers are passionate, informed, and non-discriminatory, and they will talk to anyone and everyone to persuade and cajole people to their side of an election outcome. These people go out of their way to shake hands, make new friends, and find common ground with people who might not appear to have anything in common with them. They don’t allow a negative experience with a passerby to detour them from their goals and objectives.

Great recruiters are passionate canvassers. They don’t settle for the common Craigslist jobseekers and, instead, look for talent in places where their competitors aren’t realizing that a true gem for their business may not be surfing the web or looking for a help wanted sign in a window. Great recruiters keep an open mind and are proactively talking to others as they keep one ear to the ground listening for clues, ideas, and introductions to talented people who may be looking to make a move or may be open to a new opportunity.

The best recruiters and employers find, hire, and retain the best employees because they are never disconnected from the whims and wishes of their existing people, and more importantly, they understand the needs of their organization. That’s why they refuse to accept anything less than a championship-caliber performance (not just the effort, but the actual performance) from anyone on their roster when they know that there is someone out there who is ready, willing, and capable of performing better.

ON POINT – Forget loyalty. If it’s possible to upgrade your staff, why wouldn’t you? If your employees found a better job than the one they have now, they’d leave. It’s what makes our system work! Your top performers deserve to work alongside other top performers, and you’re actually cheating your organization to accept anything less than the very best effort from the very best talent you can find.

Always Be Canvassing.