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Employee Engagement Can’t Succeed In Fits And Starts: Darren Findley and Kim Shepherd to

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Darren Findley, President of Recruitment Solutions for Engage2Excel and Kim Shepherd, Chairwoman of Decision Toolbox contributed a byline article to outlining the importance of an integrated approach to employee engagement.  This article originally appeared in the following issue of’s Excellence Essentials:


An integrated approach to optimizing engagement across the full employment lifecycle

Much of what we do in the human capital space is disjointed and segmented, in spite of the fact that the humans we support are coherent, integrated individuals. It’s time for that to change, and it starts with minimizing the number of distinct parties involved in managing the employment lifecycle experience.


Think about the last time you changed jobs. Chances are the experience was something other than smooth and integrated. Maybe you read an ad and then worked with a contract recruiter to get hired. If there was any organized onboarding, it may have been handled by another third party provider. Six months into the role, you had little or no feedback or guidance. Since many other employees had a similar experience, company performance suffered and turnover was high. The company engaged one consultant to address performance and another to promote retention.

And that’s just part of the overall employee experience — an experience that lasts from first reading the ad until the employee and company part ways. If the overall experience is even half as disjointed as just described, it’s no wonder that frequent job changing has become the norm. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cohort born between 1957 and 1964 (younger baby boomers) changed jobs an average of 11.7 times between age 18 and 48. This is a sharp contrast to the values of their parents, the Silent Generation, who believed that rewards and promotion were directly tied to loyalty and tenure.

A Consistent Solution Across a Work in Progress
Human resources (HR) professionals should take a holistic view of the entire employee experience and design an integrated process to optimize it. If we view the experience for each employee as a work in progress, from recruitment to retirement, it’s easy to see the downside of having half a dozen external providers delivering the experience in piecemeal fashion.

A positive employee experience is pivotal to employee satisfaction, which is pivotal to retention. In fact, extensive research by Dr. Jack Wiley, Professor of Psychology at Manchester University, makes it clear that recognition is second only to compensation in terms of what is most important to employees. However, recognition can get lost in a disjointed approach. Service providers in the HR space can promote employee satisfaction by offering an integrated end-to-end solution that incorporates recognition and other best practices (see the list, below).

This approach can make a substantial and positive difference for all stakeholders. On a practical level, it would reduce the number of times the baton is passed — and potentially dropped — in managing the employee experience. On a more strategic level, creating the solution as a continuum allows for the big-picture insights that can drive improvements and calibration.

Deliberate Design for Passionate Engagement
Successful businesses are run this way, and human capital professionals should follow suit. It’s a case of designing what you want or dealing with what you get. If you want passionate, engaged, long-term employees, you need to design and manage the employee experience to create that result. You’ve probably invested time and energy in developing an employment brand, and an overall employee lifecycle program extends that to the full continuum.

There are more and more articles encouraging people to change jobs every three years or so, claiming that the stigma of job-hopping is diminishing. This underscores the urgency of implementing our model — job-hopping is becoming an accepted norm. The key arguments are that job-hoppers will earn more over the course of their careers (for example, Cameron Keng on, they will learn and grow with every change (Vivian Giang on, and they make more engaged workers (Michelle Kruse on

Finger-Pointing Vs. Good Science
Before we blame the Millennials for promoting the job-hopper mindset, we should look internally for the reasons why. Is our compensation keeping pace with a competitive market? Are we offering plenty of professional development opportunities? Are we proactive about employee engagement? A focused and integrated approach would address all these considerations in a cohesive strategy.

The approach should be science-based and leverage data. We can develop tools for exploring what motivates the best people, and then apply that data in finding candidates with similar characteristics. For example, the 2016 Trendicators™ Report indicates that the majority of employees aged 25 to 34 consider length-of-service award programs to be effective and make people feel valued. That runs counter to general beliefs about Millennials, making it a potentially powerful insight.

In a perfect world, employees would stay with one employer for years — not because that’s what their parents did, but because they believe there is no better place to work. The approach needs to be tailored to each organization’s unique culture, of course, so that each new hire integrates with 100 percent goodness of fit.

Integrating Value from End to End
Here are best practices we propose at the key points in the employee experience lifecycle. They should be facilitated by (but not driven by) user-friendly technology.

  • Content-rich employment branding to communicate opportunities to targeted candidates — in addition to marketing the company as an employer of choice, the opening should be presented as an opportunity of choice.
  • High-touch recruitment to promote engagement and ensure a seamless conversion to active candidate.
  • An orderly, timely and coherent interview process conducted by hiring authorities trained in best-in-class interviewing techniques.
  • An optimal onboarding process that is MUCH more than filling out forms — rather, it is an immersion into company history, vision and culture, along with practical training.
  • Ongoing programs that promote engagement, including regular constructive feedback, rewards and recognition, and teambuilding.
  • Employee referral programs — the largest percentage of employees who are still with a company after two years come from referrals, according to and other sources.
  • Length of service awards that promote loyalty by celebrating major milestones (and maybe some minor ones).
An HR service provider who can help companies excel at any one point adds value. One that helps them excel in, say, three areas will deliver value greater than the sum of the value added at each point. The HR service provider who can help deliver an exceptional employee lifecycle journey at each point . . . that’s the one that can transform companies into industry leaders in attracting and retaining top talent.



Author Bios


Kim Shepherd is the chairwoman and leads Decision Toolbox’s growth strategy, primarily through developing partnerships and alliances, and as an active member of the Los Angeles and Orange County human resources communities. A recognized thought leader by HR organizations nationwide, Kim regularly speaks on topics such as recruitment best practices, recruitment process outsourcing and the virtual business. She authored The Bite Me School of Management, a book journaling her business journey and the challenges she has overcome, and Get Scrappy, a business book that provides a new perspective on personal and corporate growth.
Connect Kim Shepherd
Follow @decisiontoolbox


Darren Findley is a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) industry veteran. He brings over thirty-two years of recruiting and staffing solutions experience to Engage2Excel, where he leads our recruitment solutions team. Darren most recently worked at AMN Healthcare, as vice president and general manager of RPO. Prior roles included vice president and managing director of recruitment solutions at IBM/Kenexa, where he led recruitment-outsourcing programs for clients, including UnitedHealth Group, US Steel, Flowserve, Allstate Insurance, Express Scripts and Sprint PCS.
Connect Darren Findley
Follow @Engage2Excel


This article was orignally published in the following issue of Excellence Essentials:
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