Employee Engagement Strategy Should Start Early

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If you’re measuring employee engagement as part of an overall employee engagement strategy, you’re on the right track. According to Gallup, companies ranking in the upper quartile in employee engagement outperformed lower quartile organizations by as much as 10% for customer satisfaction, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity.

They enjoyed lower turnover (25% in high-turnover organizations, 65% in low-turnover organizations), shrinkage (28%), and absenteeism (37%) and fewer safety incidents (48%), and quality defects (41%).

But when does employee engagement begin and when does it end? When should you start an employee engagement survey program and begin driving programs to increase engagement.

As tools for measuring engagement and employee satisfaction mature and focus in on the employee lifecycle, one thing is for sure: There is no reason NOT to begin the engagement process BEFORE you hire. That’s right. Start engaging employees before they become employees!

Employee engagement strategyThe reason is simple. Recruiting is undergoing a transformation these days. It is evolving from a transactional process (where a job is opened, recruiters post the job, get resumes and make a hire – and then move on to the next one), to a relationship-based process. Now recruiters are capturing and centralizing candidate profiles, organizing them into pipelines and keep candidates engaged before there is a job for them.

How engaged is that group of pre-applicant candidates? How engaged are they once they’ve been interviewed? Hired? Onboarded? Increasingly, the employee engagement journey really begins before the hiring event and extends to the employee exit. How engaged is the departing employee and how likely are they to return (a common event and an excellent source of future hiring for specialized position)?

Now how crucial is pre-hire engagement? It’s probably not going to depress your next quarter’s profitability. But it can impact your ability to hire from that centralized, relationship-based talent pool in a tight labor market. How crucial is engagement during the onboarding process? Massively important. Though estimates vary, around 20% of all employee turnover happens in the first 90 days.

So employee engagement has a lifecycle and each phase presents different challenges and varying levels of importance. If you haven’t mapped your employee engagement lifecycle and developed a plan for impacting and measuring it and each phase, it’s time to start.

You can use ad hoc surveys or program-specific employee engagement survey tools to do so. Increasingly, tools are becoming available that treat candidate and employee engagement and employee satisfaction as a holistic journey, as well. However you do it, it’s time to make sure your employee engagement strategy includes candidates and ex-employees!

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