Insight

Recruiting Employees to Help You Win the War for Talent

06.29.2018
By Helen Lee

Is 2018 on track to be another year of employee disengagement? As it is with most companies, it’s likely that only 30 percent of your most important asset – your employees — are working at their peak capacity and feeling connected to the choices – and advertised vision – of the business. And as a result of this disengagement, among other factors, your long-term change initiatives – whether it be culture, technology or infrastructure – are doomed to fail at a rate of 70 percent.

The unfortunate reality is many business leaders view employee engagement as a “nice to have”, when in fact many recent studies show that it should be a top priority. For example, according to Weber Shandwick’s own research, 85 percent of global employees report experiencing a recent change at work — most typically a leadership change (nearly half, at 44 percent). For more than 3 out of 10 (34 percent), this change is major: the introduction of a new organizational structure, a change in business strategy or even a crisis situation.

Turning Engaged Employees into Your Talent Recruitment Advocates

That is a lot of flux for the workforce to handle, so it’s not surprising that employee engagement is weak and declining, from an average of 30 percent in 2014 to an average of 27 percent in 2017. This level of disengagement puts employee happiness – therefore retention – at risk, leading them to hunt elsewhere in the job market; this results in a lack of focus on the job they have today, negatively impacting companies’ productivity and bottom lines. To combat this, the majority of Chief Communications Officers (70 percent) in North America, and many of their peers in the C-suite, see employee engagement and advocacy as their No. 1 priority over the next 12-18 months.

With the war for talent expanding across all levels and industries, and with 46 percent of businesses in the U.S. facing a talent shortage, there is no more critical time than now to ensure that your company’s reputation serves as a brand differentiator. Other studies also show that people have less faith in institutions and are trusting their peers more and more – a reality that carries over to the job search. For example, today’s job seekers aren’t just going to refer to the hiring company’s website, they’re going to look at services like Glassdoor and other job search functions to research peer opinions. This is why organizations need to recognize the power of engaging employees to act as brand advocates and as partners in recruiting talent.

The importance of employee engagement doesn’t stop there: our research shows a direct, proven correlation between how employees perceive the importance of their role and company performance. Not only does employee engagement support people in championing pride in their work to potential customers and employees, but also helps companies accomplish their financial and strategic goals.

Closing the Gap in Your Employee Experience is a Must to Retain Talent

Once employees are hired and onboarded, how do organizations approach retention? Does the employee experience match the brand promise? Our latest research, The Employer Brand Credibility Gap: Bridging the Divide, finds that only 19 percent of employees surveyed perceived a strong match between their employer’s branding and messages, and their experience. This means there is a lot of room for improvement in how brands can better define and promote their story to employees and, through them, to future recruits.

With organizations constantly shifting, progressing, and competing globally, and the war for talent being as intense as it is, it’s critical that business leaders recognize the importance of closing the gap between the brand promise and the employee experience. Leaders who make employee engagement and change management a top priority in their overall strategy can create an optimal environment for their brand and customers, ultimately elevating their businesses above the competition. Winning the war for talent in this highly competitive environment demands nothing less.

 

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

About the Author

Helen Lee

SVP, Employee Engagement and Change Management

Helen Lee is a senior vice president and leader of the West Coast EECM practice for Weber Shandwick. Her passion is to help organizations harness the full potential of their greatest assets – their people – to create workplaces where employees fully contribute to the organization’s mission, and to design strategies that guide the successful implementation of change initiatives.

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