In such a competitive playing field as the recruitment industry is, employers need to not only understand the core elements behind what drives employee engagement across their businesses, but also ensure they have a very clearly defined plan in place to deliver on those elements. I have always been a big fan of the fable that sometimes get used to explain employee engagement:
A Pig and a Chicken are walking down the road. The Chicken says: “Hey Pig, I was thinking we should open a restaurant!” Pig replies: “Hm, maybe, what would we call it?” The Chicken responds: “How about ‘ham-n-eggs’?” The Pig thinks for a moment and says: “No thanks. I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved.”
In such a competitive playing field as the recruitment industry is, employers need to not only understand the core elements behind what drives employee engagement across their businesses but also ensure they have a very clearly defined plan in place to deliver on those elements otherwise they end up with lots of employees that are just involved and not fully committed to the business’ success – two very different things.
Employee engagement in the recruitment sector links together two very simple but important questions: how likely is it that your consultants and employees will continue to turn up to work and when they do come to work, how committed will they be to do to do more than they asked in order to overachieve against their strategic objectives?
One thing we do know, whilst money is always going to be a core motivator for many people in recruitment, it only plays a small part of creating real engagement and recruitment leaders need to delve deeper into this if they want to spend less time trying to outcompete their competitors in salary wars.
Engagement can typically be broken down into three critical drivers:
- With colleagues – do your people have a best friend at work and do they enjoy working with the people in their teams, or is there someone in your business that is having a negative impact on the team culture?
- With leadership – are your leadership team inspiring, engaging, effective and consistent in how they deal with people in the business?
- With Purpose – do your consultants feel aligned to the company vision and Purpose motive and inspired to on that journey with you?
- Well defined roles and outputs – do your employees (front and back office) know exactly what is expected of them, not only from a KPI / activity perspective but more importantly from a client, candidate and business output perspective?
- Clear strategic direction and purpose – do each of your employees have a clearly defined personal roadmap of where there career is going and does the management team know what this looks like?
- Measurements of success – do your employees know exactly how they are tracking continuously against the company expectations?
- To themselves – are they developing, learning, evolving personally?
- To their peers – are they supporting other people across the business and making a positive difference to their peers and the wider team?
- To their employer – are they clearly adding measurable value to the business and enabling the company to achieve its strategic vision and purpose?
In essence, if employees feel connected to the business and the people within that business, are clear about what they need to do and where they are going and feel they are making a valuable contribution to themselves, their peers and the business then you will find real engagement.