Building Engagement at Every Stage of the Employee Lifecycle: Part 1 – Attraction & Retention
The pre-employment stages are the first fundamental experiences leading to employee engagement—yes, employee engagement starts well before the candidate is hired! The overall pre-hire experience is a powerful message to job seekers and candidates about what it’s like to work for your company and how you treat and value your employees.
We live in the new age of technology and social media. Job seekers and candidates have ready access to a wealth of information about your company and team. Savvy candidates will do their homework and draw perspective and opinion about the public and social media information available.
Stage 1: Attraction
To build engagement with potential employees in the attraction stage, ensure your employer and consumer branding is consistent across channels and addresses the desires and interests of prospective candidates. Consider the following:
- What is your company’s public image and reputation? What news is in the marketplace?
- Why is it a great place to work; why do employees stay; why do employees leave?
- Review your benefits plan and compensation packages. Is it competitive enough to attract top talent?
- Is there any negative impact or publicity; how will you overcome / discuss it with candidates?
- Company Website – is it user friendly; does it contain a careers section that showcases employees and lists current openings?
- Social Media / Professional Profiles – candidates use these to get to know your organization, its culture and the reputation as well as the personal brand of the people who work for you. Be sure you know the information that is published to social media and encourage managers to update information that is distributed to online sites
- If using a third-party search firm, be sure they know your company well and conduct their work as an extension of your brand and image (choose the right partner)
Stage 2: Recruitment
The best way to engage an employee is to have the right one in the first place. To find the best candidates, it’s important to be clear in what you’re looking for in the job description. This includes thinking through not only what skills and competencies are necessary for the position and what the company wants in the new hire, but also why the position would be attractive to the candidate. Why is this job appealing to the candidate marketplace? What are the positives of the job? What are the challenges (be ready to discuss them candidly)? Also consider:
- Consider if this is an opportunity to bring new talents and competencies to the organization
- Seek to backfill the job not the person; internally discuss the true requirements of the job
- Segment the specifications into two primary categories: a) Must Haves; and, b) Nice to Haves
- Career path: what potential exists?
- What is intriguing about this job; and why would a candidate be interested?
- Why is it open; why do you need it; how does it fit into the overall picture?
- Compensation: Is it marketplace competitive?
- Will you consider someone for whom the job is a next step?
- Will you consider someone for whom it is a step back?
Equally important to the job description is a well-managed and disciplined interview process. An efficient, organized, timely, and respectful recruiting and interview process engages applicants and creates a positive connection to the company (whether they are ultimately hired or not).
Another way to keep applicants engaged is to keep the hiring process moving quickly. An extended process and delays can result in losing strong candidates. Keep in mind the following:
- Embrace the concept that the interview is a process of mutual discovery; not a one-sided analysis
- Always start with the end in mind and map out the timeline and be realistic about the time needed to conduct a successful search
- Determine who is critical to participate from the organization’s perspective
- Decide the interview sequence and determine who is covering what topics
- Consider if video-interviewing, web-conference or Skype calls can enhance or expedite your process
- Prepare, in advance, for the interview (set time aside on your calendar to do so) and assure that all members of the interview team are prepared
- If using pre-hire assessment instruments or other pre-hire testing, communicate this process to candidates
- Candor with candidates who are not a good fit is the best practice
- Candidates not selected in the process are customers too and either the source of a future hire or a referral
- Remember to follow up with everyone
Employee engagement plays a significant role in driving business success and needs to be a top priority in any organization. Step back and consider how you can increase the level of employee interest in your company. By maximizing engagement at the pre-employment stages, you will also help maximize your talent pool and ensure you receive the best possible candidates to choose from.
Director of Marketing
Read Part 2 of our employee engagement blog series: How to Drive Engagement During Onboarding
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