When looking for new employees, you probably post job ads, review resumes and conduct interviews. Those are crucial steps of the hiring process, but there's something just as essential that may be missing: engagement.
What is engagement?
Engagement for prospective employees doesn't have a clear-cut definition because it'll vary depending on your company goals, team size and more. Generally, though, engagement gets new hires or prospective employees acquainted with aspects like branding and culture while helping them connect with colleagues. When done well, engagement shows potential employees about the company's ideals, often through actions.
Engagement efforts happen continually
Hiring professionals should be aware that engagement is not a one-off effort. Instead, it should be an element introduced when someone is a prospective employee that gets woven into the person's overall experience at the workplace. The things done to cultivate engagement vary depending on the stage of the hiring process.
If prospective employees get engaged with consistently, they'll be more likely to conclude a company is an attractive place to work. But, if engagement remains limited, people could instead believe it's not authentic and look for work elsewhere. When that happens, businesses miss out on individuals who could have been fantastic additions.
An engagement focus could — and should — set expectations
According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 34% of workers reported feeling engaged at their workplaces. There's room for improvement since that's less than the majority, but the figure represents an upward trend compared to previous surveys from Gallup on the same subject. People who are engaged believe their work is worth doing, and that they matter to their employers.
When people start deciding whether to move forward in the hiring process with particular companies, they generally think about whether they could see themselves fitting in at the workplace. That's why the best engagement processes convey that a company values its current team, and prospective employees should look forward to the same treatment.
Examples of off-site engagement efforts
Social media offers excellent opportunities for early engagements with potential employees. And, the results of a 2017 survey show that 80% of hiring professionals use social media as a recruitment tool. The majority of them do so to provide information to people who may want to work at the company.
For example, you might post a short video clip of employees talking about what they like best about the company. Or, you could shoot a day-in-the-life style video that gives viewers an idea of what to expect if they become part of the team.
If you send postcards about upcoming job fairs or open house events, design them to include elements of the company's brand such as the color scheme, slogan, logo and tone.
And it's best if any correspondences from the company to the prospective employee have personalized elements. When scheduling an interview, for example, a hiring manager could use the person's first name and mention one or two things about the individual's resume that made them seem like a good match for the company.
What about on-site engagement?
While off-site engagement makes a person interested enough to visit a company and possibly work there, on-site engagement efforts enforce those positive initial impressions. HR professionals could use environmental graphics to make a welcoming mural on a blank wall or create a timeline of the company's history.
It's also useful to train the people most likely to first come into contact with prospective new hires — such as reception desk staff or security guards working at the main entrance — to ensure their attitudes align with the company at large.
During a person's first visit to the company, aim to have them directly interact with relevant employees, such as individuals related to the position they hope to get. Also, encourage the candidate to ask questions at any time, especially as they get to know the surroundings through a company tour.
Once hiring managers get to the point where they offer the job to someone, the engagement efforts continue. The goal then is to make the new hire excited about the decision they’ve made. Consider sending an email that expresses how you're delighted with the outcome and can't wait to see how they benefit the company.
On the first day of work, you might tie a bunch of balloons to the worker's office chair, give them a bag of branded goodies or treat them to an informal lunch attended by several other employees. Also, think about introducing the new employee to a mentor. That person can help them learn the company norms, solidifying the engagement aspect of the hiring process even more.
Adding engagement to your hiring process pays off
Making engagement an essential element of what you go through to hire someone brings numerous advantages. Overall, though, it should make a person feel genuinely eager to start working at the company, which brings its own benefits. A person who's happy and appreciated at a new job will be more likely to have high productivity levels and feel comfortable working alongside their coworkers.