Employee engagement from before the word go

by Jan 29, 2014Blog0 comments

Employee engagement from before the word go

Many companies fail at employee engagement even before new recruits have joined their payroll. Like any part of corporate culture, the way you behave shows the truth of your company as much as the things that you say, and this extends to the recruitment process.

An engaged workforce is vital to a productive workforce. Engaged employees are more productive in themselves, and become engaged leaders, who in turn engage and inspire those around them. But if you haven’t recruited the sort of people who will be engaged by your business, or haven’t engaged them from the very start, then you create harder work trying to fix that.

So how can you ensure engagement from the start?

Engagement begins with recruitment

As Altria found, successful employee engagement begins with the interview. By emphasizing how the company conducts its business, and why this matters, they help potential employees understand what they are getting into. This gives interviewees the chance to withdraw if the corporate culture doesn’t appeal, or to really shine if it seems like the place for them.

Having come in with an awareness of what it means, employees live the brand from the start. They come in with expectations that match the company, and engage in its culture straight away.

Show, don’t tell

Show don’t tell is common advice for writers. Actions and events say far more about a person or place than just describing them, and this applies to your company.

If your recruitment process is stiff, formal and old-fashioned then that is what recruits will expect of your company as well. For new graduates in particular this can be a big turn-off. Those looking to engage in a lively culture will go elsewhere, and those who remain will be psyching themselves up for a formal, standoffish environment. They won’t come preparing to engage. So try to make your recruitment process less formal and more reflective of your culture.

Recruitment is also a good point at which to show rather than tell the benefits of your firm. Include an office tour as part of the process; giving recruits a chance to see what you are like. Create opportunities for them to talk with other employees rather than just managers, to see in action that yours is a great place to work.

Make yourself relevant to employees

Statements of a company’s values, mission and vision are often written with customers or investors in mind. But if you want employees to engage with that mission then you need to make it relevant to them – both the employees you have and the job seekers you want to attract. Ask yourself, does your mission statement reach out to those people?

Who recruits

Think carefully about who does the recruiting. Average talent may feel threatened by the prospect of bringing in better people. This extends to lack of engagement. Interviewers who don’t fully engage in the business and its culture are likely to recruit people who are more cynical and disengaged than them, not less so.

Right from the start

Getting engagement right from the moment an employee joins will mean you get the best out of them. But it’s good for more than that, and can help you retain top talent – the point that we’ll turn to next.


Other Articles in this Engagement Series:

Image credit: kritiya / 123RF Stock Photo

Mark Lukens, MBA

Mark Lukens, MBA

Founding Partner at Capatus
Mark Lukens is a founding partner at Capatus and located in the New York office. He leads the Capatus’ Global Talent and Advisory practice. He is also an expert in the firm’s research and nonprofit practice. Lukens has more than 20 years of c-level executive and consulting experience delivering strategies and transformational programs to firms ranging from start-up to Fortune 50. He has worked with clients in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. Lukens worked extensively in various product and service categories including health care, life sciences, government, nonprofit, technology, and professional services. He also advises clients in other industries including commercial and industrial, retail, logistics and transportation, media and more. Lukens serves on several Nonprofit Boards and is a professor at the State University of New York where he teaches in the School of Business and Economics with a focus on marketing, international management, entrepreneurship, HR, and organizational behavior to name a few. Lukens has a technical background as a MCSE and earned an MBA from Eastern University.
Mark Lukens, MBA


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