Employee Engagement Should Be a Focus Before It’s Broken
It really is our nature though isn’t it. To not think about things until they are completely screwed up. In the last few years the idea of employee engagement has taken a front seat in our book of leadership speak. It’s important. We like to talk about it. We believe it impacts the bottom line and that is important to us. Yet, we only begin to really focus on it when it’s completely jacked up. And that’s too late.
Can I be honest for a second? If you said no, stop reading.
I’m sick of talking about employee engagement. I’m sick of thinking about how to get Mary, who has been with the company for five years and has been passed over for three promotions engaged. I’m sick of sitting in meeting after meeting talking about how to make employees happier only to be told to plan a party or something.
Seriously. We are doing it wrong.
Employee Engagement Starts Before Their An Employee
It starts in the recruiting process. It starts from the very first interaction. Before they even speak to a human being at your company, it starts then. It starts when they hear about your company. It starts with what they hear about it. It starts with a news article or a job opening.
First impressions are hard to overcome.
Imagine an employee who went through a crappy interview process. They took the job because they were really interested in the opportunity – or worse – they just needed to work. Even if you do everything right from the start, you are starting behind. The employee already has a negative impression of the company that you have to overcome just to get to ground zero. Any negative occurrences just reinforce what happen to them in the recruiting process and employee engagement takes a few steps back again.
A friend just went through two interviews. The process was horrible. Both companies are large, well known brands with “great” company cultures. You could not tell that from the interview process. The words the interviewer said about how important employee engagement was to leadership did not ring true by going through the process. It was unorganized. The recruiters (who worked for the companies) were uneducated about the roles. They did not provide feedback in a timely manner or at all. My friend had to find out from current employees of both companies that she wasn’t being considered due to her salary being too high. From those conversations she learned that many others have gone through what she went through and got the job only to be unhappy from day one.
At that point, it’s way to late to talk about employee engagement. You might as well just begin the recruitment process again.
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