It should come as no surprise that happy and healthy employees are more productive employees. However finding a happy and healthy employee is an extremely difficult process in these recessed times. Not only are employers having a difficult time sourcing and selecting happy and healthy employees, job seekers are having an equally difficult time finding happy and healthy work environments.
In HR we call happy and healthy employees “engaged.”
Most often we think of a personal relationship or a promise to be married, but that’s not the only meaning of the word engage. “To please” or “to attract and hold fast” and my favorite “to occupy the attention of.” So when you read or hear an HR professional use “engagement,”that’s what we’re talking about; the process in which a company occupies the attention, interest and trust of its employees.
Employee engagement is a very valuable asset. It can be the difference between the success or failure of your initiatives. Disengagement translates into a loss of productivity, which is reflected in your service and balance sheet.
According to a Kapta System’s latest Employee Engagement analysis, it’s estimated that US businesses lose an average of $300 billion annually because of disengaged employees. An infograhic from the NBRII (National Business Research Institute Inc.) points out that 1 in 3 workers are disengaged at work and spend their time between sleeping, smoking, socializing and surfing the web (see right).
How to Hire Employees
So let’s start with how to attract engaged employees. Human behavior can never be predicted so there is no way to ensure that every employee will be committed to your company’s agenda, goals, mission and vision. But it begins with your job ads; the way you advertise, source, recruit, and hire new talent. Just as an employer wants to attract, retain and develop the best talent possible; employees want to work for the best company available. The job ad is one of the first indicators of a company’s organizational culture. If the job description and ad is boring, bland and uninspired, guess what kind of talent do you think you’re going to attract?
Unfortunately I have worked for more bad companies and leaders than good ones. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witness employees quit either during training or immediately afterwards because they felt the company misled them during the interview process. The job, the employees, and culture were totally different than the opportunity that was sold in the screening process. It’s not hard for new employees to get a feel for the culture. The behavior of your current employees, the type of welcome they receive, the technology that you use and the essential job duties, all indicate the type of company you are and if your employees are excited to work for you. Disengaged employees are like blood thirsty Zombies, and they can suck the life’s blood right out of your new employees.
Finally, it’s important to remember that every communication, correspondence and press release is a reflection of your corporate culture. Your DNA comes through on your digital footprints and external communications. So be careful how you brand yourself. Employees source online for great employers just like employers source for great employees. Potential hires use social media, they look at the “about us” corporate pages, and they pay attention to the job board descriptions. Be aware of ways to you engage current and new talent in all phases of your organizations, including community events and volunteer work.
Consider that most employees would love to work for companies like Google, Microsoft, Harpo Productions (Oprah Winfrey), Zappo’s or Starbucks. But why? It’s because these companies have reputations for taking care of their people; both internally and externally. They seem to really care about their corporate reputation. And they are socially aware, that means they use social networks and give back the community. They get it, smart employers know that by treating employees well it increases employee engagement, and that increases the chances of organizational success.