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If Employee Engagement Starts After Onboarding, You’re Already Too Late – Kim Shepherd to Call Center Times

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Decision Toolbox Chairwoman Kim Shepherd, along with Tom Brennan, Manager of Creative Services contributed an article to Call Center Times outlining the importance of addressing employee engagement beginning with the recruiting process.  A copy of the article is below and originally appeared on Call Center Times.
 

If Employee Engagement Starts After Onboarding, You’re Already Too Late

Employee engagement is catching plenty of buzz these days, and it should. However, many people don’t realize that it begins before an employee comes on board. If you want passionate employees who are motivated to contribute to your organization’s success, employee engagement should help shape your recruitment strategy.
 
In case you’re still not sure engagement is important, PWC’s 2015 Employee Engagement Landscape Study found that companies with highly engaged employees have:
 
  • 33 percent higher profits
  • 51 percent lower turnover rate with satisfied employees
  • 250 percent better performance-related business outcomes
Engagement comes into the recruitment process in two ways: first, you want to hire for engageability and, second, you want to start proactively engaging candidates from first contact. “Engageablity” refers to the extent to which a candidate has both the skills and the motivation to start contributing on day one.
 
Keys to Engageability
 
That doesn’t necessarily mean fully trained and up to speed, or coming in with years of experience. Instead, a candidate with high engageability is one that has the right characteristics and basic skills not only to start learning, but also to handle some nuts-and-bolts tasks on day one. That is, it may be several months before entry level employees can effectively handle an irate customer, but if these same employees have a high degree of engageability, they should be able to follow an outbound script.
 
Engageabilty also depends on the position. A big part of this is common sense, although we often lose sight of it. For example, for an inside sales role, you need to ensure that candidates enjoy talking with others and are willing to make 40 outbound calls a day — any candidate who doesn’t will soon become disengaged in that position.
 
Clone Your Top Performers
 
In addition, find out what makes your best performers stand out. Ask them to take a personality assessment, and then identify common traits. Maybe they are passionate about helping people solve problems, or perhaps they believe deeply in your product’s potential to add value. Now use the assessment to discover which candidates have similar characteristics.
 
High engageablity also involves the motivation to go above and beyond. Ask behavior-based questions around taking initiative, solving a problem independently, or identifying a potential process improvement.
 
Engagement at the Next Level
 
Proactively engaging candidates during recruitment will lay the foundation for strong employee engagement throughout the candidate’s career with your company. Your employment brand is important, but you can put an even finer point on each search. Now that you know what your ideal candidate looks like, go to market with a story that appeals to that kind of person.
 
Instead of “Come work for an industry leader with great benefits,” tailor the story to the position. Staying with our earlier examples, the story may be “Leverage your passion for helping others solve problems to represent a solution that delivers true value.” This is a double whammy in that is not only attracts the right people, but it lets the wrong people know to keep looking. Someone who isn’t a problem-solver won’t be engaged in this position . . . at least, not for long.
 
Strong Start for an Ongoing Strategy
 
Leveraging this foundation, your employee engagement strategy should be a well-integrated program extending through the entire employment lifecycle. Engage2Excel Chief Scientific Officer and Manchester University Professor Jack Wiley has a helpful mnemonic for remembering what drives engagement: RESPECT. Based on years of research, he has determined that what is most important to candidates is Recognition, Exciting Work, Security, Pay, Education, Conditions and Truth.
 
Take advantage of data whenever you can. What you learn may surprise you. 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 suggests that job-hopping is not a Millennial thing, but rather a low-employee-engagement thing.
 
Your company culture and human capital strategies should account for every one of the RESPECT drivers at each stage in the employment experience lifecycle, including rewards and recognition, ongoing professional development and more. But it starts before an employee has even read your position posting.
 
Check out other articles from Decision Toolbox in the news or our blog.
 
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