Employee Engagement: How to make your employees want to come to work!


As human capital consultants, we receive a lot of calls from CEOs asking us if we can help with employee engagement. And we, of course, love working with our clients to identify ways to get their employees wanting to come to work every day and thinking of retention strategies for the long term. It’s important to note though that employee engagement can have several different interpretations depending on who you are talking to, so let’s address the first question.

What is employee engagement?

Engaged employees can be involved in the business and actively seek out new opportunities to improve themselves and their company. Engaged employees can also be happier and therefore motivated to push beyond the status quo and succeed. We realize that everyone may have a different understanding of engaged employees, regardless, engagement does not occur on its own. Therefore, just thinking about the topic and how you can make improvements, shows signs of enlightenment as a leader.

A high performer may already appear to be engaged. They complete their work on time and within budget. The employee appears positive and upbeat and is always willing to go the extra mile. The trick with the high performers is to figure out how to keep them engaged and how to create an environment where their commitment and level of hard work is sustainable.

How do we engage the talent that we know we want?

Human Resources professionals have long recommended involving the employee in the design process of the solution if you want the employee to improve upon a behavior. Employee engagement is very similar. Employees who feel involved in the company and have an opportunity to share their ideas are more likely to participate in team activities and answer the call of duty when a last minute project needs to be completed.

How do we engage the talent we don’t yet realize we have?

Employee engagement is about teamwork. It is about the employee feeling as though they are valued as a team member, thereby making the employee want to be part of the team themselves. It is about finding the intrinsic motivation that makes the employee not only want to come to work, but want to continue to work for the company who has already recognized their potential and now wants to invest  in their future. Our clients will ask, “What do we do when the employee appears to reject the opportunity presented for engagement?” My recommendation: find a new opportunity! Try connecting with the employee over lunch to discover what interests them both professionally and personally. Employees who feel connected to their company and co-workers are more likely to take a risk by accepting a task that pushes their skill set beyond their comfort zone. The employee may just need the extra push to recognize that this risk may result in a newfound talent and sense of confidence.

10 Predictions for 2012: The Top Trends in Talent Management and Recruiting

The following 10 Predictions for 2012 article was written by Dr. John Sullivan and posted on the ERE Daily website.

2012 Will Be “The Year of the Mobile Platform”

By the end of next year, even the skeptics will have to admit that the mobile platform will have become the dominant communications and interaction platform by early-adopting best-practice organizations. The capabilities afforded users of smartphones and tablet devices grows immensely day by day. Long before unified inboxes existed for the desktop, smart device users could see all incoming e-mail, social messaging, text messaging, and voice and video messaging in a single place. Tablets will become the virtual classroom, and an emerging class of tools will let employees manage almost every aspect of their professional life digitally. During the next year, talent management leaders need to invest heavily supporting execution of talent management initiatives across mobile.

The Additional Top Nine!

Intense hiring competition will return in selected areas — global economic issues will persist for years to come, but the global war for talent will continue spiking in key regions an industries. While growth has slowed somewhat in China, Australia and Southeast Asia — including India — continue to see dramatic demand for skilled talent. In the U.S. and Europe, demand is still largely limited to certain industries where skills shortages have been an issue for years. In high tech inclusive of medical technologies, 2012 will see a significant escalation in the war for top talent. As innovators and game changers step out of established tech firms like Facebook, Apple, Google, Twitter, and Zynga, a whole new breed to tech startups will be born each vying for the best of the best. While recruiting will move forward at a breathtaking pace, so too will “rapid” leadership development.

Retention issues will increase dramatically — almost every survey shows that despite high engagement scores, more than a majority of employees are willing to quit their current job as soon as a better opportunity comes along. I am predicting that turnover rates in high-demand occupations will increase by 25% during the next year and because most corporate retention programs have been so severely degraded, retention could turn out to be the highest-economic-impact area in all of talent management. Rather than the traditional “one-size-fits-all” retention strategy, a targeted personalized approach will be required if you expect to have a reasonable chance to retain your top talent.

Social media increases its impact by becoming more data-driven — most firms jumped on the social media bandwagon, but unfortunately the trial-and-error approach used by most has produced only mediocre results. Adapting social media tools from the business coupled with strong analytics will allow a more focused approach that harnesses and directs the effort of all employees on social media. Talent leaders will increasingly see the value of a combination of internal and external social media approaches for managing and developing talent.

Remote work changes everything in talent management — the continued growth of technology, social media, and easy communications now makes it possible for most knowledge work and team activities to occur remotely. Allowing top talent to work “wherever they want to work” improves retention and makes recruiting dramatically easier. Unfortunately, even though it is now possible for as much as 50% of a firm’s jobs to be done remotely, manager and HR resistance has limited the trend. Fortunately, managers and talent management leaders have begun to realize that teamwork, learning, development, recruiting, and best-practice sharing can now successfully be accomplished using remote methods. Firms like IBM and Cisco have led the way in reducing and eliminating barriers to remote work.

The need for speed shifts the balance between development and recruiting — historically, best practice within corporations has been to build and develop primarily from within. However, as the speed of change in business continues to increase and the number of firms that copy the “Apple model” (where firm is continually crossing industry boundaries) increases, talent managers will need to rethink the “develop internally first” approach. In many cases, recruiting becomes a more viable option because there simply isn’t time for current employees to develop completely new skills. As a result, the trend will be to continually shift the balance toward recruiting for immediate needs and the use of contingent labor for short-duration opportunities and problems.

Employee referrals are coupled with social media — the employeereferral program in many organizations is operated in isolation as are the organizations’ social media efforts, but talent managers are beginning to realize that the real strength of social media is relationship-building by your employees. With proper coordination, employee relationships can easily be turned into employee referrals. This realization will lead to a shift away from recruiters and toward relying on employees to build social media contacts and relationships. The net result will be that as many as 60% of all hires will come from the combined efforts. The strength of these relationships will lead to better assessment and the highest-quality hires from employee referrals.

Employer branding returns — Employer branding and building talent communities are the only long-term strategies in recruiting. True branding is rarely practiced (hint: it’s not recruitment marketing) especially in the cash-strapped function of today, but years of layoffs, cuts in compensation, and generally bad press for business in general may force firms to invest in true branding. The increased use of social media and frequent visits to employee criticism sites (like Glassdoor.com), make not managing employer brand perception a risky proposition. While corporations will never control their employer brand, they can monitor and influence in a direction that isn’t catastrophic to recruiting and retention.

The candidate experience is finally getting the attention it deserves — Organizations have never treated candidates as well as they did their customers, but the high jobless rate has allowed corporations to essentially abuse some applicants. As competition for talent increases and as more applicants visit employer criticism sites like Glassdoor.com, talent leaders will be forced to modify their approach. At the very least, firms will more closely monitor candidate experience metrics as they realize that treating applicants poorly can not only drive away other high-quality applicants but it can also lose them sales and customers.

Forward-looking metrics begin to dominate — Almost all current talent management and recruiting metrics are backward looking, in that they tell you what happened in the past. Other business functions like supply chain, production, and finance have long championed the use of “forward-looking” or predictive metrics and the time is finally coming when talent management leaders will shift their metrics emphasis. Forward-looking metrics can not only improve decision-making but they can also help to prevent or mitigate future talent problems.

For the full article, please visit ERE Daily.

Helios Recruiting Blog

Welcome! This blog will provide you with the best practices and needed advice on resume writing, interviewing, tips for researching potential employers, techniques on finding the right people and finding the right opportunity for your growth. Our mission is to share best practices with those involved in talent management and provide current tips and trends to our readers.

In the coming days and weeks, we will cover many topics, but I wanted to start with trends that will shape tomorrow’s talent searches for firms. The same practices can be used by job seekers to see where they should be posting resumes and the best places to connect and network with Talent Managers. The first action that any recruiting team needs to tackle is to create a competitive advantage in their space.

How can this be done? Our recruitment practice subscribes to the philosophy that the quality of an organization’s talent will have a direct correlation to its success. We will share some of the ways we have become the “go-to team” for our clients. Having a team of consultants, each with their own niche or specialty, is an added resource to your internal HR team, and will help you build and establish a workforce environment that creates a competitive advantage.

Use your resources wisely

Using Social Networks is new, needed, and effective. However, when used incorrectly it is a tricky policy. In order to be effective, firms not only need to have a presence, but a policy that is well suited to their needs and that works for them. If you encourage employees as individuals to connect with others and share their own information, they will expand their following, but not drive people to your firm.

It is important when using social media to make sure the branding of your firm is consistent and that you do not have multiple employees using the same media, in the firm’s name. An effective way to transform or shape this is to encourage senior management and recruiting staff to have a work account. Using a professional account on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and The Ladders allows your team to have their own following. Candidates of various job skills and locations can follow your firm or your firm’s representative. You also encourage better communication between your own internal recruiting team and senior management.

At Helios, we typically incorporate social media in our searches and particularly LinkedIn. Job boards may have revolutionized recruiting, but many of the larger services, although useful, have become weighted down with resumes of unqualified candidates. Sometimes it is more time consuming to run a complex search on a larger board or really find candidates in the top talent pool our clients are interested in. While job boards are still an avenue of candidate sourcing, they now take a back seat to more strategic and innovative ways to build a superior candidate pipeline.

Generate buzz!

It is important to create targeted social and traditional media buzz designed to attract top talent. We no longer rely on just being known or doing only traditional passive/active recruiting strategies. To be successful requires the ability to use several strategies and build a consistent presence. By using the tools in social media, like event notification and scheduling, immediate updates, and location check-ins, you not only invite but include your followers in your company’s news, events, and successes, and really form an identity that people will relate to.

As we still rely on the old faithful niche websites, industry associations and event networking, we also look to search “aggregators” {which are search engines} such as Indeed, Simply Hired and JobSniper.

Other sites that can offer recruiters, firms, and prospective employees potential employment profiles are jobfox, Itzbig and My Perfect Gig, which are popular because candidates and employers remain anonymous until there is a firm, mutual interest between the two parties. This creates a venue for the passive candidate to entertain opportunities without having to commit or risk being identified by their current employer as a candidate. For firms, it gives you the means to interact without having to know a specific opening. You can locate and interact with people with specific skill sets, locations, levels of experience, and really see what they are looking for and how it is a match to your firm.

A Look Ahead

At Helios, we are expanding our Candidate stream to LinkedIn, our recruiting team, corporate blog and Twitter. The ability to connect and network through these avenues seems endless. This is the main factor to LinkedIn’s job listing service having tripled in revenue in one year. With industry blogging, we are now able to set up email alerts through RSS feeds which can lead to new and more defined qualified candidate pools.

Social media is ever-changing and it is critical to understand leading trends to stay ahead of the curve. We are hoping that each member of our team could add “Social Media Development Manager” to their title very soon! We will continue to use these methods and others (hence the consultant rears their head for the fee ;) to create a searchable and customized database of qualified candidates for our clients. The bottom line is each team knows their industry and corporate needs. Marrying this information to the tools in social media and fostering a team whose main goal is to improve will allow you to form best practices. Being committed to the highest quality in human capital will allow you to unleash the potential of your workforce and gain that competitive edge.

Welcome to the new era of candidate sourcing!

So, what is it that you would like to know?  Please let me know what questions you have (general or specific is fine) with regards to getting hired in today’s economy…. and stay tuned for regular updates!