How to Improve Recruiting with an Employee Engagement Program

Group Recruitment

As it becomes more difficult to find top talent, the last thing companies want is to go through the trouble (and costs) of recruiting “new” individuals, only to see them leave shortly thereafter. And the reason so many employees leave so soon after they are hired is often due to an unhappiness and disconnection from what they thought their new employer was all about. In other words, disengagement. As discovered in Gallup’s recent survey on worldwide engagement trends, a mere 13% of employees are engaged at work, meaning the vast majority of employees are actively disengaged. That’s a lot of unhappiness.

This is a problem for many companies, as it impacts domain expertise, discretionary effort and productivity, organizational success and growth – all of which necessitate additional time and resources on recruiting new candidates (while struggling to retain the current). As organizations with highly engaged employees often benefit from higher productivity and greater commitment from their teams, improving engagement at work is one of the most pressing needs for companies today. And though more companies are recognizing this need, many engagement programs focus mainly on the early candidate experience and/or on their current bench strength, overlooking a crucial aspect – the need to improve engagement during the onboarding process.

Employers have made great strides in improving the candidate experience, offering their applicants greater insight and transparency into the hiring process. But the attention candidates receive during the application process often disappears once they are hired. Rather than taking the opportunity to immerse them in the company and its culture, new hires are often greeted with stacks of paperwork on or prior to their first day. The companies that do this are missing out on a big opportunity to make a strong first impression that will help to keep employees engaged for the long term. 

By transforming onboarding from a dry, paperwork-heavy process into a personalized, cultural immersion one, employers can create a more positive experience. But how can they achieve this? Taking a cue from the suggestions in Talent Board’s 2013 Candidate Experience report, companies can invite the new hire to come in before their first day to get a tour of the office, meet their colleagues or set up their workspace. In addition, the company can offer webinars or online training to help the new hire prepare for their new role, or share videos from executives welcoming them to the company. At the very least, the hiring manager should have a phone call with the new hire to ensure they have what they need to start their new job.

Given the challenging hiring environment pervasive across most industries and locations, companies must be able to ensure they hire the right people who are most likely to stay in their positions for the long term. By investing in the technology and processes that create a more collaborative onboarding experience up front, the company can save significant time and resources down the line. Engaging employees from the start will help ensure new hires become productive, valued members of the team who are committed to the success of their company.

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