Having engaged employees is highly important to any business. When employees are engaged, they are so committed to the company and its goals that they give their best effort. In fact, Gallup research found that companies with more engaged employees yield higher productivity, more satisfied customers, and lower turnover, among other benefits.
Despite the value of an engaged workforce, only one in every three employees is estimated to be engaged. There are many factors of employee engagement, including some that occur during and before an employee’s earliest days of work. Here are five key factors that contribute to employee engagement:
One of the most important factors of employee engagement is a positive experience with the company before an employee is even hired. When candidates undergo an efficient interview process and have ample opportunities to learn about the company and its culture, they’re more likely to start work with a positive outlook. Alternatively, if candidates have a poor experience or if the interview process fails to identify those who are a poor match for your company and culture, they may encounter more obstacles to becoming engaged once they begin work. Some specific actions you can take to ensure your talent acquisition process supports the development of an engaged workforce include:
- Hire for cultural fit: Prospective candidates who are aligned with your company mission are more likely to remain committed to it as employees.
- Focus on candidate engagement: Seek to connect with candidates and provide opportunities for them to learn about your company.
- Diversify candidate communication: Not all candidates engage over email. Leverage chat, video, and storytelling to reach candidates in new ways.
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Ensuring new hires have a positive onboarding experience also contributes to employee engagement. According to a SilkRoad survey, 53 percent of companies reported an increase in employee engagement as a result of improving the onboarding process. One way to achieve greater onboarding success is to incorporate onboarding activities into the full lifecycle recruitment strategy. When recruiters help to facilitate the onboarding of the candidates they’ve sourced, there is greater accountability in ensuring new hires have access to the people, processes, and tools they need to succeed.
Employees and prospective candidates want to work for a company with a compelling social mission. For many, working in a company that aligns with their own sense of purpose strengthens both their engagement and sense of belonging. This is particularly true for young talent, as they favor work opportunities and companies that value ideals such as diversity, equality, and an entrepreneurial mindset. Researchers on a recent Gen Z study found that, “Working for an organization that aligns with their social compass is important and could be, or most likely will be, the deciding factor when Gen [Z] choose[s] their career and the company they work for.” Companies who use employer branding to attract mission-driven candidates early on, while those candidates are still in school, will stand out as preferred employers among the newest generation of talent
Relationships with Manager and Coworkers
People are social individuals and thrive on positive relationships that encourage trust and support. Research shows that when employees have mutual trust with coworkers, they’re more likely to be engaged and do their best at work. In fact, a TINYpulse study found that camaraderie and peer relationships are the No. 1 influence driving employees to go the extra mile. To develop a more engaged workforce, it’s a good idea to encourage social interaction among employees, as well as between employees and candidates, thereby helping prospective hires see that your company is a place where they will form relationships and bond with others.
Growth and Development
The opportunity for growth and development is commonly sought by candidates and existing employees alike, but it’s particularly important for the newest generation of employees entering the workforce. In a Pearson survey of Gen Zers, two-thirds said that their goal in life was to make it to the top of their profession, evidence of their ambition and desire to grow. To build engagement among employees in both older and newer generations, it will be necessary to provide opportunities for growth that will keep them challenged and excited to perform their roles. Examples include training, mentorship, stretch assignments, and participation in task forces. These growth opportunities can also be highlighted in your recruiting efforts as a way to attract talent that is the best fit for your organization.
The factors of employee engagement can vary slightly from company to company. When you take an approach that focuses on employee experiences both before and after they’re hired, you have more opportunities to impact their engagement and commitment to your company.