By Josh Young
As part of a three-year study, Leadership IQ, a global leadership training, and research company reviewed the hiring of more than 20,000 employees, focusing on the long-term success of applicants.
While only 19 percent of these newly-hired employees met with “unequivocal success,” 46 percent were either fired, left under pressure, or were disciplined within their first 18 months. Surprisingly, only 11 percent of these issues were related to skills or performance with the remainder instead caused by attitude, motivation, temperament, or other emotional issues.
Based on these findings, it should come as no surprise that Gallup reported that only 29 percent of Millenials in the U.S. workforce are engaged at work, and only 50 percent plan to be working at the same company in a year.
This engagement deficit can have a broad range of effects on a business as disengaged employees tend to monopolize their manager’s time, drive away customers, and waste company resources. Conversely, companies where engagement is high — particularly in the top quartile of employee engagement — experience:
- 17 percent more productivity
- 70 percent fewer safety incidents
- 41 percent less absenteeism
- 10 percent better customer ratings
- 21 percent higher profitability compared to companies in the bottom quartile
How Do You Find Applicants That Will Engage With Your Corporate Environment?
Define your culture
It’s impossible to make sure that a potential hire is a strong fit for your corporate culture unless you actually know what that culture is. Most large-sized or well-established businesses will more than likely already have culture documents in place that accurately capture the outlooks, values, and practices of the organization.
A start-up or small business, however, may not have put much thought into the concept. More than simply a mission statement, your culture document should describe the values and attitudes that drive your company and your employees. Pick three or four behaviors that are critical to success in the business.
For a great example, you could review the values listed by Etsy on its website:
- We are a mindful, transparent, and humane business.
- We plan and build for the long term.
- We value craftsmanship in all we make.
- We believe fun should be part of everything we do.
- We keep it real, always.
Spread the word
Any applicant should have no trouble identifying what elements define your company’s character. Your job listings (or any other recruiting mechanisms) should clearly define not only the specific expectations of the available position but also whatever required characteristics would be needed to reflect your corporate culture.
If your business is a relaxed environment that is pet-friendly or an elegant workplace with a prestigious history, make those elements clear in the job listing.
In addition, the organization’s values should be posted anywhere an applicant may look to research your business, such as the company website and social media profiles.
Ask the right questions
While evaluating candidates during the interview process, bear in mind their potential fit into your company’s culture. Train interviewers to ask questions that reflect the organization’s value system.
For example, if your organization places a strong emphasis on customer service, ask the candidate about the best customer service experience they ever had in their personal life. You’ll be able to determine a great deal about what the potential hire considers to be good customer service and whether that philosophy meshes with your business.
If possible, you should also incorporate the hiring candidate’s potential coworkers and teammates into the interview process. The group will likely be able to gauge whether or not the candidate would fit with existing dynamics and roles.
Of course, anyone involved with the interview process will need to be properly educated on what is and is not appropriate criteria for determining a cultural fit. Your culture may embrace fun-loving and risk-taking behavior, but expecting all candidates to participate in extreme sports would be discriminatory towards disabled or older workers, inviting a potential lawsuit.
Interviewers, and in fact all employees, should know that they should never view company culture through the lens of:
- Ethnic background
- Citizenship status
- Family status
The Next Step
By being upfront with potential job candidates regarding the tone and attitude of your organization, you can reduce the high turnover caused by culture clash and encourage a more engaged workforce. And by asking the right questions, your business can find not only employees able to do the work but who will thrive in your business.