Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report doesn’t paint a pretty picture of employee engagement: Only 33 percent of employees are engaged at work, and a whopping 51 percent are actively looking for new employment. Worse, a significant number of employees are so unhappy at work that they’re willing to sabotage their employers through active disengagement. Given that companies with low levels of engagement earn 33 percent less in operating income, employers should take these abysmal engagement numbers seriously.
In an effort to fill employees with a renewed sense of satisfaction, many organizations have undertaken amazing initiatives, including reevaluating performance management processes, implementing real-time feedback, and establishing employee appreciation programs.
While these initiatives are important, the truth is that some of the responsibility for engagement falls on the shoulders of employees. Not every engagement problem is management’s fault. Sometimes, it’s simply a case of the wrong employee in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Talent acquisition can play an essential role in increasing employee engagement by using recruitment tactics to find and hire candidates who have the potential to be highly engaged on the job. Here’s how we do it at my company, Red Branch Media:
1. Create a Candidate Experience That Reflects Your Company Culture
As I mentioned above, engagement is a shared responsibility. For example, it is up to the employee to do their best work, communicate challenges with leadership, and choose the appropriate attitude for approaching various situations. However, in order to set that expectation for new employees, you must communicate how your company works during the hiring process.
At Red Branch, hiring is a step-by-step process that allows me to add a personal touch to each communication with my candidates. In the first few stages, I’m looking at resumes and considering where each individual could potentially fit in at the company. Next, we do phone screenings, and from there, we invite candidates into the office to meet the team. We try to get this all done in 1-3 weeks. If it at any point the candidate doesn’t seem to be a fit, we don’t hesitate to say so. Leaving a candidate in limbo for fear of giving a little negative feedback hurts the candidate’s ability to find the right job — not to mention my ability to sleep at night.
Our fast turnaround time and back-and-forth communication primes candidates to be engaged. When you’re quick to schedule interviews and team meetings, candidates have no time to drag their feet. This sets the pace for how things work at our company, too. If candidates can’t keep up with the hiring process, chances are they won’t be able to keep up if they join the company.