The data makes it clear that organizations that cultivate high levels of engagement also deliver exceptional performance regarding productivity, revenue, profitability, retention, customer service and other key metrics. Knowing this, you want new employees to reach high levels of engagement as quickly as possible. In fact, engagement starts before the hire, whether you're being intentional about it or not.
According to the 2017 Trendicators Report, a survey of 1500 active job seekers revealed that 81% of Millennials believe recognition and social interaction are important or very important during the pre-hire process. Millennials now make up the largest generation in the workforce, but these elements of engagement are important to other cohorts as well. For example, 55% of Baby Boomers rate recognition as important, and 32% rate social interaction as important.
Intentionally promoting engagement throughout the recruiting process will help you win over top talent, and it is good for your organization in other ways as well. It helps differentiate your employment brand in a competitive talent market and it starts immersing candidates into your culture even before they start:
A high-touch, personalized approach gets candidates' attention, keeps them engaged through the process and lets them know that they are valued.
Regular communication between recruiters and candidates is essential, as is establishing authentic relationships with candidates. Building relationships allows recruiters to understand much more than a candidate's salary expectations. They are able to dig in to the candidate's goals and challenges, such as long-term objectives, dynamics that impact employment, how the candidate has been treated by previous employers and more. This approach helps you become aware of potential pitfalls and opportunities. For example, if a candidate tells you they are strongly considering another offer, you can work with the hiring manager to close the deal more quickly. If your applicant tracking system (ATS) is stronger on compliance than it is on relationship management, consider using a customer relationship manager (CRM) in the same way your sales team does. After all, you are "selling" jobs.
Another way to pursue top talent is to provide exceptional service such as following up to ensure they have completed various steps in the process and helping them overcome hurdles.
Including personalized recognition is also a powerful way to court candidates and helps demonstrate your company culture. You might recognize a candidate's unique skills, accomplishments or perhaps even community interests.
Optimize the candidate experience. Candidates know they have options, and even something as simple as failing to follow up can sour their experience. Start by streamlining the recruiting process.
You do have to ensure compliance, but compliance shouldn't shape the candidate experience. Cut out the clutter to make it easy for candidates and stay one step ahead in the fast-paced talent market.
To take engagement to the next level, set up social platforms and situations that allow candidates to interact with your current employees. This could range from hosting a fun mixer at a local bowling alley to establishing an online portal. Allowing candidates to interact directly with existing employees gives candidates genuine insight into your organization, which will be very valuable as they make a major life decision.
Once a candidate has accepted an offer, and before they even start, send a welcome gift. It might be a lunch bag and tumbler branded with your company's logo or mission statement. When the new employee opens the unexpected package in front of family or friends and everyone is impressed and delighted by the gesture, this first recognition moment will have a lasting impact. There’s a very good chance they've never had an experience like that before.
When it comes to personalization and the candidate experience, these strategies should extend beyond recruiters. Coach hiring managers to support this approach and promote engagement. Ensure you have a strong onboarding program that involves more than just filling out forms, because these practices lay the foundation for engagement throughout the career lifecycle.