Hiring for an Engaged Workforce

Engaged Workforce
Hiring for an Engaged Workforce

ENGAGEMENT + EMPOWERMENT = RETENTION
a simple notion, but one that may be more difficult to implement. 

We would like to welcome you to the first in a series of leadership training articles aptly dubbed the ‘Leadership 101’ series. We started this knowledge base with the goal of bringing different leadership perspectives from all corners of the web into one easily digestible format. In this series we will be looking at HR industry best practices and trends; in an attempt to keep you informed, while adding to your leadership arsenal. In an attempt to keep this forum open we would like to invite you to provide feedback here or through our @Hire4Impact feed on Twitter.

In our last article we talked about the impact different generations are having on the workplace. Baby Boomers continue to leave the workforce; and with that dynamic shift, new challenges arise in the corporate environment.

Today’s employee needs to be independent and able to work with little supervision (i.e. solve problems and manage conflicts with external guidance or manager oversight). It is clear to this employee that they are responsible for their own career path.

What does this mean for us today? Ideally, leaders and HR professionals should be looking to create or advance toward a culture of empowerment. From a leadership perspective, what does this mean for leaders and HR professionals today? Well, at the very least, Leaders and hiring managers should be looking to hire talent that is motivated, disciplined, and accountable.

As defined by Sharlyn Lauby (author of hrbartender.com) – an empowered employee is given the tools and responsibilities they need to complete a given task – thus resulting in a more engaged employee. In short, an engaged employee is more likely to be happy with their position, motivated to do great work, but ultimately – is invested in the success of the organization. You can download her free whitepaper here.

We mentioned earlier that leaders and hiring managers need to be bringing on the right talent from the onset. This means having a rigid system in place as part of the interview process. For more insight on this issue, please take the time to read some of our earlier posts; specifically ‘Choosing Winners: An Introduction’ and ‘7 Deadly Sins of Hiring’. There are 6 behavioral traits leaders should search for in their candidates – all of which lead to better talent; the kind of individuals who are prepared to do what is necessary to innovate and move the company forward.

  1. Introspective – this allows an individual the ability to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses, while finding out what makes them more productive.
  2. Pride in his/her work – it is important for an employee to see their professional life as more than just their job. Any employee who sees their job as a chore will surely be dissatisfied, unmotivated, and thus disengaged. There needs to be a closer connection between an individual’s personal life and their professional life. After all, taking pride in one’s work results in increased productivity.
  3. Problem solversnot too long ago, the status quo was to defer all concerns and decisions to an authority figure. We are in an age now where employees are forced to think or devise of a solution on their own. Allowing the employee to solve a problem allows them to feel valued, and thus more engaged.
  4. Manage Conflict Productively – there are many reasons why disagreements/conflicts arise in the workplace. A self-directed employee will realize the need for conflict resolution. More importantly the will do more to solve the problem without the involvement of supervisors and management (resulting in increased productivity).
  5. Learn how to Learn – In today’s ever changing world, it is essential for employees to continue learning and acquiring new skills. Gone are the days of job security that the Boomers enjoyed. In an attempt to remain valuable – it is essential for the ‘self-directed’ employee to put themselves on a path of continued learning. More importantly, they need to learn how to learn.
  6. Innovative – it is a fundamental belief that growth requires change. An engaged employee will understand that need, and put themselves in a position that fulfills this desire.

We would like to send a special thank you to Sharlyn Lauby for inspiring this article. As we continue this series we will be looking at other ways you, as a leader, can increase engagement throughout your organization; and ultimately, increase productivity.

VisionSpark is the Talent Planning and Executive Search Firm of Alec Broadfoot and Adam McCampbell. For more news and updates, follow the conversation at @Hire4Impact or like us on Facebook.

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