So far this year, the job market favors the applicant. Though the March numbers were well down, so far this year the Bureau of Labor Statistics says more than half a million jobs have been created. This surge, which extends across industries, from finance and construction to retail and healthcare, makes 2017 a good year to be a job applicant. With many employment options available, skilled candidates can afford to be discerning in their job search.
In this candidate’s market, HR professionals and executive leadership needs to prioritize recruitment tactics that set their business apart from the competition. By neglecting to do so, they risk a talent shortage that can lead to stagnation across the organization.
For many enterprises, attracting top talent means offering more competitive pay packages and benefits. But there’s another element to the recruitment process that’s crucial to securing the best new hires: promoting employee engagement initiatives.
More than a paycheck
Prospective employees today are looking for more than a paycheck and a title; they want an employer that demonstrates a strong commitment to the employee experience and an alignment between the organization’s purpose and their own.
According to a Manpower Group Solutions survey of active job seekers, 57% of U.S. respondents said a company’s brand/reputation is a more important factor in job selection than it was five years ago. To deliver the best brand identity to prospective employees, companies must demonstrate their commitment to employees during the hiring process. Here are three ways they can do that:
1. Refine a company-specific employee engagement program.
Gallup tells us the significant majority of employees – 70% – aren’t engaged in their work. This finding suggests that most companies aren’t prioritizing engagement to a necessary extent. Before they can attract job candidates with a robust engagement program, companies need to build and refine this program internally.
Each organization is unique and the formula to drive the highest levels of engagement will vary based on the organization’s culture strengths, opportunities and other macro/micro factors. Companies can take action by pulling on a broad set of levers that could make up a winning engagement formula. Those levers could include areas such as clarity on job expectations through goal alignment, regular feedback from peers, more frequent coaching conversations from managers, peer-to-peer social recognition, pulse and mood surveys.
2. Market the program.
Once you have an engagement program, you should find ways to showcase it as a value add to joining the company. Did your company’s engagement program lead to measurable business results? Has it boosted your employee’s engagement scores or put your company on the map as a great place to work? These are all benefits you should highlight in marketing materials focused on the engagement program.
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3. Offer prospects a personalized and engaged hiring experience.
One of the best ways companies can demonstrate engagement is by making the hiring process itself engaging. Because hiring is a prospective employee’s first point of entry into a company, it’s worth making it reflective of the business’s culture and values. If your organization prides itself on a culture of engagement and transparency, extend that to hiring. Instead of keeping prospects in the dark, provide them with frequent updates about their status in the process. The interview process is also a chance to appeal to the candidate’s professional goals. Employees today want to feel like they’re developing their own skill sets, but also contributing to the company’s larger goals and success. When recruiting, discuss how company employees have an active say in creating their own goals. Explain how frequent check-ins with managers ensures goals stay on track and employees are getting the coaching and feedback they need to advance.
By prioritizing engagement efforts, HR leaders won’t only attract skilled hires – they’ll also be able to keep that talent around. These days, employee disengagement is contributing to higher turnover rates, leaving companies scrambling to fill vacant roles. When companies bring employee engagement to the forefront, that demonstrated commitment to employees will improve worker retention and drive better hiring.