The Key to Attracting Top Talent: Employee Engagement

Jan 02, 2018

Employee engagement to attract top talent? Sounds simple enough.

But...if it were, more companies would get it right. They don’t.

Because employee engagement involves so many aspects, starting from the recruitment of employees, to the company’s internal branding and management, that only a handful achieve success - because it takes work and commitment from a dedicated team.

However, when a business does get it right, the rewards are numerous and will attract top talent.

Let’s take a look at what employee engagement is and what it involves:

Related: Why Strong Leaders Attract the Best Talent

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional connection an employee has with his or her place of work and it’s vision and goals.

When an organisation’s employee engagement level is high, staff have a strong emotional connection to the workplace, and the result is higher productivity, loyalty and commitment.

And in the context of this article, a high level of employee engagement becomes a strong method to attract top talent.

High employee engagement involves three primary strategies:

#1: An appealing organisational culture

Every organisation has its own culture; its own personality.

The difference between a company that attracts mediocre staff, and one that appeals to top talent, is that one cultivates a desired culture while the other is formed by default; by accident.

A company with a culture of traditional values and conservatism will attract people who are driven by those same values. A company with an innovative culture will cherish new ways of thinking and working out solutions, and in turn, will attract people who also consider that important.

So if your business wants to attract a certain type of person, the culture of your company needs to align with that.

#2: Recruiting for culture, not just skill

If you want to build a desired culture (that appeals to top talent), then you need to recruit employees who will share your culture to make it strong. And if you want to find top talent, your recruitment process needs to be geared for it.

If you’re looking for people who support your values, this needs to be reflected in job ads, and more importantly, in the interviewing phase, so that you select the right person, based on their personality and values, instead of just their skill.

For example, job ads need to be compiled to attract the kind of person you are looking for; the ad should not be written as a job description, but rather as a real honest to goodness advert.

During the interview phase, incorporating things like psychological testing are vital, because you can’t simply trust what the interviewee says or even behaves like.

Related: How Can Leaders Promote Creativity?

#3: Cultivating the desired culture

Perhaps the most difficult out of the three strategies, cultivating your desired culture means reinforcing it on a daily basis. Easier said than done, to be sure, because it requires plenty of planning, like:

  1. Coming up with a company purpose beyond profit, so that employees can strive towards something that is bigger than the bottom line. A great example of a company that’s focused their entire business on a fulfilling purpose is Bombas, who sell socks. For every pair of socks that are sold, one pair gets donated to those in need.

A screenshot taken of a section on the Bombas website.

  1. Brainstorm real values. Many companies create values, because it's the “thing to do”, but they are meaningless. Values have to be translated across each role in the company, so that each employee understands their part in achieving the organisation’s vision. It has to be real. The values then need to be lived throughout the company - tacked on bulletin boards, used in KPI’s, and so on.
  2. Get employees to connect with each other. Allow play time. Encourage get-togethers. This creates strong bonds between teams, and an emotional connection between each member encourages strong teamship. Foster fun. Make the work environment a fun place to be. Google does this beautifully, and as a result, has more than 2 million job applications every year, from the very best of talent around the world. Read from Business Insider how Google attracts the most talented people.

Image Credit: The Globe and Mail

This is a meeting room at the Google Toronto offices - you can see just by this space, that Google wants to inspire innovation amongst it’s staff.

At Jefferson Maguire, we specialise in headhunting and recruiting top talent for companies like yours.

Simply contact us for a conversation.


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