In today’s workplace, the transactional employee/employer relationship is – rightly – becoming a thing of the past. Companies are recognising that they cannot expect motivation and satisfaction through financial incentives alone. People need to feel engaged, connected, empowered – and in doing so, be motivated to deliver – more, often, – for an employer.
To increase motivation and satisfaction, employers need to develop and deliver targeted and relevant activities that engage and thus motivate and satisfy, including at key employment points, such as during recruitment, onboarding, and development. These engagement activities are absolutely essential for companies to deliver their business objectives – it is through involved and satisfied people that organisations will thrive.
And as well as employee engagement, companies also have an opportunity to connect with potential and past employees – and bring business benefits in doing so.
There is huge scope for employers to connect with potential employees through their external communications and engagement activities – and this may be long before a potential employee even considers a role with the organisation. The way that companies present themselves, through their external communications activities, through their charitable and community support, will have a significant impact on how they are perceived. As well as considering what external engagement activities they should deliver – be it media relations, social media, sponsorship, for example – companies also need to be mindful of the key messages they are sharing across their communications. Employers need to put their very ethos, their purpose, and above all, their values at the heart of their communications and engagement activities in an open and consistent way. Because these messages are what people will connect with – and which will ultimately attract applicants who share similar beliefs.
It is these activities – combined with the advocacy of existing motivated and satisfied employees who are benefiting from positive and proactive internal engagement and communications – which will help a company to become an employer of choice. And which will create that pull to a company which is perceived as a ‘great place to work.’
There is also opportunity to engage those who have left the organisation positively. The way that companies manage the ‘ending’ with those who are moving on is vital because these ex-employees also become advocates – or otherwise – for the organisation. And so, companies need to make an employee feel valued throughout the leaving process – with recognition and appreciation, and engagement through, for example, truly effective and two-way exit interviews (the name of which, in itself, is rather disengaging). How a resigning or retiring employee is treated at this key time is crucial as it can colour their whole view of the organisation – and how they speak about the employer afterwards.
And once an individual is no longer an employee, a company can still keep them engaged through an ‘alumni’ scheme. This could include keeping them updated on progress through sharing the company newsletter, or through an annual Christmas or birthday card. This approach will help an ex-employee to feel valued for the contribution that they made, and still feel connected to the company – ‘part of the family’. A company which takes this approach will benefit from hugely powerful advocates within the community who will be in a position to influence others to want to work for that organisation. And, it may also encourage the ex-employee to return should an appropriate opportunity arise.
Employee engagement is crucial to business success as it is through people that objectives and performance are delivered. And more far-reaching engagement can also bring enormous benefits, not least around who wants to work with and for an organisation. A company which looks at these wider engagement activities can truly become an employer of choice.
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