There is a “monster” terrorizing businesses big and small, running through office buildings, eating profits and demoralizing employees and customers alike. This monster is called “employee disengagement,” and it contributes to the downfall of businesses everywhere.
Employee disengagement is exactly what it sounds like: when your employees are apathetic about their job. Employee disengagement can be extremely detrimental to your business. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report for 2012 cited that nearly 70 percent of employees were not actively engaged in their work, and cost employers approximately $500 billion in lost work, money and time every year. According to an article by Tolman & Wiker Insurance, disengagement can cost your company money by causing employees to care less about their jobs, which will cause them to hurry through projects instead of seeing them advance in the best way possible. They will also miss work more often, have more safety incidents, and create higher turnover in the company. The high turnover can cause an increase in cost, as it costs money to cover illnesses and train new employees.
It can get even worse. Sometimes employees are not just disengaged, but actively disengaged, meaning they purposely act out when they are unhappy, undermining the productivity of other employees. This can cause many problems, including decreased morale in the office, and a negative effect on customers.
Disengaged employees may also negatively affect your brand. Not only are they more likely to be rude or uncaring to customers, providing a bad customer experience that sheds negative light on the company, but they may also post negative job reviews online that deter future prospective employees.
There is hope on the horizon for businesses. Employee disengagement can be avoided with proper candidate engagement. Candidate engagement is a precursor to employee engagement; after all, an employee is more than just an employee, and a candidate is more than just a candidate. These are real people with real lives outside of work, as well as the ability to retain memories. A candidate will remember how they were treated during the interview process, and this will translate to their attitude about their job if they become employed. If they were made to feel important and cared about as more than just a “cog in the machine,” they will remember that their new boss cares about people. If the entire process was robotic and automated and they felt like they were talking to computers more than people, they may get the impression that their employers do not really care about anything more than filling a position.
These candidates and future employees don’t only affect their own positions; they will also bring praise to the business for future candidates and employees. The Good Jobs, a company that helps organizations find the right candidates, say that a survey suggests only 2 percent of respondents don’t look into a company before applying for it. This means that 98% of candidates have done their research into your company. Some of this research has probably included reading what current and past employees and candidates have to say about their experiences.
So how can you make candidate engagement work for you?
First of all, make sure you are seeking out candidates that will fit in with your organization’s culture. If you are hiring for a niche position, be sure that is stated in your advertising. Also consider hosting a “meetup” in other to gather a group of candidates for information about your company. This can be done through meetup.com, where you host a group that is focused on a common interest. Another way to bring the candidates to you can include loading your website with informational videos and photos about what working in your office will be like, or telling your business’s story about how it came to be and what you learned along the way.
Once you have candidates in mind to interview, be sure to make the interview about more than just what they can do for you and the company. Ask them about themselves or what got them interested in your company. If you jump right into the job description and qualifications right off the bat, you may come off an intimidating and scare the customer away. Another way to keep candidates engaged is to create a candidate pool, or a group of eligible candidates, and send them regular newsletters to keep them up to date on what is going on in your company.
Using these tips and keeping in mind that candidates are people with personal lives, too, will allow you to build up your brand and find quality employees who will enjoy working for your company.