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Employee engagement from a recruiter’s perspective

by Corina Dumont, on Nov 9, 2020 5:59:23 PM

I am a curious consultant in search of opinions on employee engagement. I met with Anna* who works for a group offering recruitment solutions. In her job, Anna makes her decisions based on the information she gathers from HR departments of client companies and job seekers or potential employees she is head hunting. Our context: Geneva, Switzerland, an international playground, where companies, small and big ones, interact with a fluctuating yet highly educated and demanding pool of potential employees.

She shared her answers to 6 of my questions about engagement:

Q: What is employee engagement for you?

A:   To describe employee engagement, I like to mention it along with employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is measuring how content a person is with his or her job; items such as compensation, holidays and career development opportunities are the basis for satisfaction surveys. But employee engagement is more than that. It goes beyond satisfaction and adds ingredients such as individual dedication towards the organisation. In other words, employee engagement goes along the lines of how driven an employee feels within an organisation and how willing he or she is to put in that extra effort on behalf of the organisation.

Q: What are signs that an employee is highly engaged?

A: Engaged employees are true ambassadors of their company – they actively promote their company. They are willing to go the extra mile and they do it without wearing themselves out professionally. In general you can say that they see more chances than obstacles. They are also highly efficient and show low absenteeism rates. From a head hunter perspective you can say that people who are highly engaged in their current jobs are less open to external offers.

Q: What are employees’ criteria of an engaging position?

A: People who are actively looking for a new opportunity tend to consider two dimensions: the industry or the company and the management model. Maybe it is the pride of belonging to a certain industry, maybe it is what a company stands for, its culture, its strategy. And, at the same time, people pay close attention to the direct management model; it is important because they know this will affect their work days and thus their overall engagement.

Q: What are reasons why employees become disengaged with their company?

A: They become disengaged when they have to meet expectations which are not clear and not consistent. As business environments are moving fast, restructurings and constant change are a reality for many markets. Employees tend to disengage when they can no longer trust the unstable context created by incomplete and ineffective communication. So clear and honest communication is essential. Another reason is lack of learning and development perspectives: not being able to learn new skills can lead to decreased motivation and consequently to feeling less committed to the job and to the organisation.

Q: If you could voice out employee expectations of an engaging company, what would it be?

A: Employees expect companies to respect and promote values such as trust, integrity and team spirit. They also expect to experience openness to innovation and fresh initiatives. Good communication within a company also makes the top of the list.

Q: If you could voice out companies’ expectations on engaged employees, what would that be?

A: Companies want to work with people who share their values and who live and work by them. Respecting work ethics and being able to promote and inspire joint ambitions are also highly appreciated behaviours.

What can I conclude from this? Here my attempt: Engagement is a two way street: on the one hand it seems to happen when people are aware of what drives them and when these values match with the environment they work in; on the other hand, there seems to be a way of being engaged and engaging, something that one can observe. Both are equally important: what engages me and how I will behave accordingly.

* the name has been changed for privacy and confidentiality reasons.

By Corina Dumont