Employee Engagement

Employee engagement: your essential recruitment tactic

Lydia Watson

Challenges come and go in the workplace, but recruitment will always be relevant. Employee leave, positions are created, and organisations need to find new talent. The only thing that changes is the job market.

The pandemic has led to a surge of staff turnover – often dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’ – and that means hiring new employees is particularly tricky, as everyone’s trying to do it at the same time. To make recruitment easier now and in the future, there’s one thing that can help: employee engagement. 

What are the components of employee engagement? 

First things first, what is employee engagement? There are hundreds of definitions out there, referencing everything from happiness at work to performance and productivity. As we’ve noted before, the authors of Engage for Success define it as:

A workplace approach, designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values – motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of wellbeing.

At its base level, think of engaged employees as people who care about the work they do. When your engagement is high, you want to work hard and perform at your best – because it’s beneficial to your own wellbeing, as well as the company’s goals.

The cost of disengaged employees

Engagement might not be a priority for you right now. If your employees are disengaged, you’re missing out on the many, many benefits of employee engagement:

  • Disengagement costs UK businesses roughly £15 billion per year
  • Retain your most talented staff for longer, and you can see a 18% boost in performance
  • Companies with high engagement rates see a 250% boost in business outcomes
  • Revenue is 4.5 times higher on average in businesses with high engagement levels

Why is employee engagement important to recruitment?

We know the benefits of employee engagement – but how does that relate to recruitment? There may be multiple links, but we identified three key areas that engagement matters:

1. Reduce the need for recruitment altogether 

Attrition is expensive. To replace one member of staff, it can cost anywhere from 50-250% of their salary – with more senior employees costing the most. Add that to the disruption and damage to your company culture, and it all starts adding up. 

Engaged employees are 87% less likely to quit, so if you prioritise engagement in your organisation then you can expect to see long-term savings. 

2. Attract more hires using your good reputation

If your organisation has high engagement rates, it can help you improve your hiring process. In a competitive job market, every organisation needs an ‘edge’. But it’s simple: all you need to do is align your employer brand with engagement. Show off your strong track record by:

  • Sharing your impressive engagement stats on social media
  • Selecting engaged employees to act as ‘ambassadors’
  • Introducing an incentivised employee referral programme
  • Tell interviewing candidates about your high engagement rate
  • Ask engaged employees to tell potential hires about the culture

3. Consider cultural fit in your recruitment process

Here’s one important piece of advice: look for new employees with engagement in mind. There’s three ways you can do this, and each will make hiring staff easier.

Firstly, ‘hiring for fit’ is not always a good thing – but it doesn’t necessarily mean only employing people who are demographically similar to your existing team. Instead, focus on personality. Loud, extroverted people will be more engaged in lively company culture. Focused, quieter employees will enjoy a different environment. Think about what your company offers.

Secondly, and closely linked to the first point, be honest about your office culture. Don’t pretend it’s a ‘work hard, play hard’ vibe when everyone goes home at 5 pm on the dot. Be honest about your workplace, and candidates will self-select – and that’s a good thing, as the wrong fit will make it possible for them to be engaged.

Thirdly, don’t forget about the importance of good onboarding. Learning how to make onboarding engaging is a crucial skill – because once they’re hired, you can start new hires on the path to high engagement immediately. And that means all the benefits we discussed earlier. 

Prioritise engagement, boost retention, improve hiring 

We’ve learned that employee engagement is important, and can have a positive impact on the process of hiring people. It can improve performance in your organisation, and make recruitment a lot easier – and lead to more successful hires. But how do you get started?

We’d recommend sending our employee engagement survey to get a measure of how engaged your teams are now, and what’s stopping them. It’s fast, easy, affordable and the best way to decide your next steps and build more effective employee engagement strategies. Get in touch to learn more:

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