Engagement Starts Before Day One

 -  1/18/13

The longer talent managers wait to promote engagement, the greater the challenge becomes.


Reader Reaction: Engagement Starts Early

We asked our Talent Management Network and Twitter followers: How do you make employee engagement part of hiring and on-boarding?

Why do so many highly qualified individuals fail to fit in with a team or deliver results? Odds are it’s because they are not engaged at the beginning of their recruitment, when it’s most likely to impact their success.

Lack of engagement often can be traced back to hiring and on-boarding practices. Many companies never consider probing whether an applicant has the potential to become an engaged employee — one who identifies with the company’s goals, values and culture.

Instead, organizations focus solely on criteria such as education, skills and experience, with the assumption that well-qualified candidates will automatically become engaged. Further, firms tend to undervalue concepts such as employee engagement despite studies that show improved performance can be directly related to it.

Consider a 2011 study by Accenture, “What Executives Really Need to Know About Employee Engagement.” The study’s authors wrote, “A workforce that is highly engaged is the engine driving the gains in profitability and productivity that are critical to business success in a competitive global environment.” However, employee engagement is often overlooked during initial screening and hiring. This disconnect keeps both employees and companies from reaching their full potential.

“Half of the recruiting effort should focus on skills and abilities,” said Marsha King, a senior human resources professional with SkillPoint Consulting, a Chicago-based executive development firm. “The other half should focus on a candidate’s ability to be engaged in the organization. It is easier to find someone with the right skills than to find someone with the right attitude and passion to be engaged.”

Connect Performance With Engagement
Employees often demonstrate engagement by the extent to which they endorse an organization as a good place to work and do business. A belief in the organization coupled with the drive to perform well must be created during the hiring process and continue through on-boarding to sustain engagement throughout the employee lifecycle.

In a 2011 study, “The Engagement/Performance Equation,” The Aberdeen Group’s Mollie Lombardi found a direct connection between employee engagement and performance management. “The goal for both is to create alignment between the needs, desires, skills and activities of individuals and what the business requires to achieve results,” she said. But, as the study explained, achieving such a balance “can be difficult to discern.”

Article Keywords:   employee engagement  

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