Continuing Engagement: From Candidate To New Hire

I live for this time of year. It’s especially sweet after a long winter.  The days are getting longer, the grass is turning green and the flowers are blooming. The only downside to spring for me: the start of golf season.

Don’t get me wrong, golf’s a great game. But it’s also a really frustrating one, especially as you shake off the rust from five months away from the green.

When all looks lost, every golfer should go back to the basics: a great set-up, swing and follow through. These steps are important – and not just on the golf course.

When you’re recruiting, you need to create an engaging candidate experience that starts during recruitment and continues into their employment. And engagement, as you probably know, is critical for business success. A recent Gallup poll found that engaged business units are 21% more profitable than teams that are disengaged. The news gets worse: another Gallup poll found only 32% of employees in the U.S. are engaged in their work. Worldwide, that engagement statistic falls to just 13% of employees.

Pretty dismal statistics (They’re even worse than my golf game).

That’s why it’s so important to engage job prospects early and keep them engaged. It’s also far easier to keep employees engaged than try to re-ignite an employee’s enthusiasm for their work.

Three ways to tee up employee engagement

In golf, you focus on perfecting your stance, smoothing out your backswing and then ensuring you follow through. With employee engagement, you start in the recruitment process, and then continue throughout the employee’s career at your company.

Here are three tips to engage employees during the hiring process:

1. Hire the right candidate

Seems obvious, but this is easier said than done. It’s important to get a good fit for the role right from the start because a lot of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment. To ensure you’re hiring the right person, recruiters need to:

  • Ensure job descriptions are realistic and clear
  • Ask questions that allow you to really get to know the person – ask about aspirations, and what motivates them
  • Focus on soft skills such as leadership, temperament or emotional intelligence as well as technical capabilities
  • Let the candidate ask questions and be honest with your answers. You want to accurately represent the job as well as assess their curiosity and attraction to the role
  • Check social media for insights into personality and cultural fit

2. Live your culture

If your company promotes its culture as open and respectful, you need to live that throughout the candidate’s hiring experience. Keep them informed of where they are in the hiring process, and be open about any issues that delay the process. This shows that you care about them and take your cultural values seriously.

Recruiters can simplify this process with an applicant tracking system that automates communications depending on what stage a candidate is at. It also speeds up the hiring process so you don’t lose a great candidate to a competitor.

3. Pre-board your Onboarding process

I hope I don’t have to tell you how important onboarding is to engaging employees and getting them off to a good start at your company. It reduces turnover, decreases stress on new-hires and their managers, and reduces the time it takes to get a new employee up to speed on their role.

But why wait for the onboarding process? You can engage a new hire before they start work by sending an email to welcome them to the company. If there’s an upcoming employee event, let them know in advance. Share relevant documents so they can get a head start on learning about the company and their role. Anything that makes new hires feel welcomed and included is a great way to engage employees.

The follow through

Once you set employees up for success, it’s essential to follow through – otherwise you’re just making empty promises. Your company’s follow through should include regular check-ins between managers and employees. These are opportunities for feedback and coaching, and help ensure that performance issues are discussed and resolved and recognition is given for a job well done. It’s also a great opportunity to assess and adjust learning and development plans and career goals.

One last pro tip

Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus once said, “If you set up correctly, there’s a good chance you’ll hit a reasonable shot, even if you make a mediocre swing. If you set up to the ball poorly, you’ll hit a lousy shot even if you make the greatest swing in the world.”

It’s great advice, whether you’re trying to engage candidates during the hiring process and set them up for success at your organization or trying to improve your golf game.

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