Employee engagement has a huge influence on the success of a company. Research by Korn Kerry suggests that companies with high levels of engagement show turnover rates are 40% lower than companies with low levels of engagement. For organisations with high levels of engagement as well as enablement, employees are 50% more likely to exceed performance expectations.￼.
Human Resources are on the front line of employee engagement, ensuring that team members are happy and productive in their roles. But this process starts much earlier than you might think. While efforts tend to focus on current employees, recruitment also has a critical influence on engagement levels. In this post, we’ll explain how recruitment can affect long-term employee engagement, and how you can make sure your recruitment strategy has a positive effect on your team’s motivation.
Employee engagement starts with recruitment
A person’s level of engagement is not a static number. It will vary depending on the role they are in, as well as a huge range of other professional and personal factors.
Job seekers are increasingly seeking roles which fit their values. They’re looking for work/life balance, for initiatives to support their health and wellbeing, and a welcoming and comfortable environment. It’s important to many that they can present their authentic selves at work, particularly in today’s ‘always on’ culture. This means finding a workplace culture that suits their personality, as part of a team where they’re a good fit. If this fit isn’t present, they’re likely to be disengaged and eventually leave.
Finding candidates who are a good fit for your team’s culture will increase the chances of them being engaged employees once they join you. So, a strong talent acquisition strategy should focus on attracting applications from candidates who are likely to be a good cultural fit, and not just from those who have the necessary skills and experience.
Engagement starts at your employee’s first contact
The recruitment process can also impact a new employee’s engagement even before they join the team. The application and interview process is often a candidate’s first impression of a company.
Proactive communication and an efficient, well-run recruitment and onboarding process can ensure that the working relationship starts on the best possible footing, and make sure your new starter is excited to get going on their first day. Equally they will be less likely to accept a counter offer.
If you’re recruiting in house it can often be difficult to keep up the standard of candidate experience you’d like to deliver – there’s often just too much else to do, so the process can be delayed or sometimes ruined. This can seriously impact on the quality of experience you deliver to your applicants, and could lead to star performers going elsewhere. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that you’ve got the right level of resources to manage a world-class candidate experience.
You may also wish to outsource all or part of the recruitment process if you have a large volume of roles to fill, or consider ring-fencing a certain project for your RPO provider to deliver in order for you to concentrate on BAU recruitment. This option ensures an Inclusive recruitment process that can be scaled up or down depending on your requirements.
Recruiting for engagement
Every workplace culture is different. Some are quiet and studious, while others are lively and chatty. There can be a huge variance in culture between workplaces in the same industry, hiring for exactly the same roles, and even between departments within the same company.
This can mean that candidates with very similar experience and skills can be highly engaged in one culture but disengaged in another. If you place the bubbly extrovert and the headphone-wearing bookworm into the wrong companies, they’ll be likely to underperform, even if their skills are equivalent. Consider neurodiverse employees who cannot work productively in noisy environments.
So how can recruiters tell whether a candidate is likely to be a good fit? At first, they probably can’t. Job hunters, like all consumers, are more informed, self-sufficient, and demanding than ever. At the application stage, a recruiter’s job is to provide candidates with the information they need to judge for themselves. No job is perfect for everybody, and in the first instance, the candidate themselves is the best person to decide whether their culture is going to be right for them.
This means delivering a clear picture of your company culture via recruiting, weaving your team’s personality into all aspects of your attraction strategy; job posts, social advertising, and outreach.
Authentic and transparent recruitment
If your company is recruiting at scale due to growth, it can be tempting to try and spread the net as wide as possible. This can lead to pressure to play down key aspects of your company’s culture to avoid “putting people off”. It can also be tempting to embellish the truth. There’s a lot of pressure for companies to emulate start-up culture, with quirky writing styles, elaborate social scenes and a mile-long list of perks.
Whatever the motivation, though, inaccurately representing your company (or the role you’re hiring for) to attract more applicants is likely to backfire. While it might increase applications, the long-term impact on engagement could be severe. If your recruitment process doesn’t communicate the role or the workplace culture accurately, you run the risk of hiring employees who become disengaged in their work over time.
Instead, accurately representing your company’s culture and values, as well as the reality of life in your team or department, is the best way to attract people who are likely to be a good fit. There’s little value in spending time filtering through hundreds of irrelevant applications,, or bringing in new employees only to have them underperform and leave. This is the true cost of recruitment: not just recruitment costs, but the time spent by the hiring manager, the loss of productivity due to the role being vacant, and the impact on employee engagement as they see people leave the company.
And besides, the crucial detail that makes one job seeker move on to the next job ad could be exactly what inspires your perfect candidate to apply. This is where it can also be vital to interact directly & timely with potential candidates, to understand what makes them tick and sell them on the elements of the role that are likely to be the most attractive to them.
Recruiting engaged people benefits your whole team
Getting the right people into your company will also increase engagement amongst your existing team. If you’re bringing new people into the business who are unlikely to be happy there, this will impact the overall culture of your workplace. As a manager, it’s frustrating to spend time training up a new starter only to have them walk out the door months later, and just as challenging to manage a team member who’s just not right for the role.
In serious cases, an influx of the wrong people could affect the engagement of your top performers, and cause long-term damage to your team’s performance. It could have long-lasting damage to the workplace, the culture and the employer brand. On the other hand, new additions to the team who are the right fit will continue to strengthen your company’s culture and engagement,and could help perk up existing team members too.
While the right recruitment strategy can increase your team’s engagement, a highly engaged team can also make your recruitment efforts far more successful. Engaged employees are a great asset during recruitment. The chance to work with great people can be a powerful draw for potential applicants, and people who talk positively about their job to their friends are far more likely to attract other strong candidates to apply. A happy workplace atmosphere (whether that’s calm and collected or loud and vivacious) is also a good sign to candidates that the place they’re interviewing at is the place for them.
Drive your company’s performance by recruiting for engagement
Over time, implementing a recruitment strategy that brings more engaged employees onto your team will improve your entire department’s performance, reducing attrition, increasing productivity, and helping keep your star performers working at their best.
At its core, a recruitment strategy focused on engagement is one that’s open, authentic, and transparent. Your recruiting strategy is about more than just selecting the best applications from as wide a pool as possible. It’s about attracting the right applications in the first place.
By trusting candidates to judge for themselves whether your unique company culture is a good fit for them, you’ll be more likely to attract high-quality applications from the right people, whilst saving time and stress managing the fallout of bringing in the wrong people.
Recruit engaged candidates faster with greenbean
At greenbean, we put your company’s culture and values front and centre to attract candidates to become engaged, successful employees. Our Talent Advisory Services streamline your recruitment process to make sure that when the right applicant comes along, they are delighted by the world-class candidate experience they’ve received and are excited to join your business.