People work not just for money, but also for a greater sense of meaning in their lives. Engaged environments are more energetic, more rewarding and much more enjoyable to be part of. We seek to build engagement because we have a belief that it has a positive impact on business performance.
We decided to team up on this blog, as we thought we may be able to present two slightly different perspectives on how engagement impacts the broader talent agenda. We’re interested to hear your thoughts on how engagement impacts the attraction and retention of talent, and how this is managed and communicated to an external audience.
The External Perspective
In the time I’ve worked in recruitment, I have had the pleasure of supporting a whole range of clients across a broad spectrum of industries and functions. Not being “part” of my client organisations, I am somewhat reliant on what they tell me about their levels of engagement, that and, of course, what I hear from other sources. I’m confident, however, that engagement is a component either consciously or unconsciously considered when individuals consider a new employment destination. You may be able to relate, but I tend to find an almost palpable difference between engaged and unengaged workforces just by “walking the floor”. The middle ground is certainly harder to ascertain, but the extremes are obvious. Here are some thoughts (happy for debate) regarding engagement and the attraction of talent:
- Engaged organisations have better employment brands. As such, there will be greater levels of demand / interest from potential hires.
- An increase in candidate supply should provide greater choice; you would think improve the ultimate outcome.
- Engagement and the perception of the employment brand will determine the sourcing strategies; contribute to the shape of the recruitment infrastructure; and, determine the reliance on external providers.
- Trade-offs may be required when recruiting for unengaged (unattractive) organisations, i.e. compensating through higher remuneration.
- The candidate experience is typically more enjoyable (authentically so) when interviewing with a highly engaged organisation.
- Ultimately all these will have impacts on cost and quality of hire.
The Internal Perspective
I am sure you’ll agree that employee engagement is key to attracting and retaining the best talent. At Chorus we are firmly committed to making the employment experience sticky so we can retain our best people. Our overall HR plan is to ensure our people’s experience of Chorus is exceptional; a fundamental part of this plan is to focus on employee engagement. Having a highly engaged workplace makes it easy to attract and retain the right people and makes it a difficult choice for our people to leave.
Aside from (selfishly!) wanting to work in a great environment ourselves, the HR team are focused on this goal because we know that people don’t just tend to stick to great workplaces, they tell others about it which enhances our reputation even further. Our ultimate aim is to have all out people say: “Chorus is the best place I have ever worked”.
I am confident this strategy is working because over the past two years I have lost count of how many times I’ve been told that one of the main reasons people want to work at Chorus is because they’ve heard about out workplace reputation. When I say I have lost count, I don’t exaggerate – we have doubled our workforce in this time! We have made significant numbers of these hires by referral as we have found that engaged employees take greater accountability for the organisational success.
Another key part of our strategy is to ensure our people know that engagement is not just something HR does, but something every employee owns. HR plays a critical part in coaching leaders on how to grow and sustain engagement in their teams, and I have noticed that people soon become advocates of the great environment in which we work.
Having ‘Aon Hewitt Best Employer’ status certainly supports our employment branding. And although it is a great achievement, we believe the real test is it what people hear and experience when they talk to our employees, ex-employees, customers and suppliers. I love it when people say they’ve heard that Chorus is a great place to work – I feel very proud of this because I know it is rare to truly love being at work, supporting our goal of making Chorus a hard place to leave.
This week’s questions:
Q1) Accepting that not all organisations are highly engaged, how have you mitigated candidate perceptions of low levels of engagement through the recruitment and on-boarding process?
Q2) Why do organisations enter “Best Employer” surveys / competitions?
Q3) How do you use engagement as an employment branding tool?
Q4) How do you get every employee to own engagement, take responsibility for sustaining it?
Q5) What are the levers /tools that you have used to boost engagement in your workplace?