Hire the B.E.S.T. Employees to Create an Engaged Workforce

Sharlyn Lauby, President, ITM Group
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Today’s guest post comes from Sharlyn Lauby of HR Bartender and ITM Group. For the second year, she’s attending our annual users conference, SilkRoad Connections, and sharing her thoughts on the event.

Employee engagement starts before an employee is hired.

I think we have a tendency to think of think of employee engagement only in terms of current employees and existing culture. Not necessarily in terms of recruiting. But Bob Kelleher challenged that thought.

Kelleher is an author, speaker and consultant on employee engagement and workplace trends. He’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people on workplace performance. It was a delight to hear him speak at this year’s SilkRoad Connections 2013 and get a copy of his latest book “Creativeship”.

During his session, Kelleher made the connection between hiring, engagement, performance and results. We all know how popular employee engagement is in today’s competitive business landscape. Engagement isn’t a singular act. It has lots of moving parts.

We also know that engagement, performance and results are connected. SilkRoad’s TalentTalk Research Program showed 89% of companies identify engagement with productivity and results. Engaged employees are more productive, which leads to better outcomes and results. Reversely, disengaged employees hurt productivity, which can negatively impact sales and profits.

Adding recruiting to the equation makes total sense. We need to hire the right people for the right positions. Organizations must hire people they are capable of engaging. This involves more than just checking off boxes against a job description.

  • “Knowledge of Microsoft PowerPoint? Check!”
  • “3 years supervisory experience. Check!”

  • Kelleher explains that the key is to hire high performers. He acknowledges the task isn’t as easy as it sounds. To help managers focus on hiring the best candidates, he uses the acronym B.E.S.T.

  • B – Behavior. How someone acts or reacts to a specific situation.

  • E – Education. The information a person knows.

  • S – Skills. The ability to turn information into action.

  • T – Traits. Characteristics that define someone’s personal nature.

I enjoyed a quote from his book that says, “Education and skills are important but behaviors and traits are the difference between mediocrity and high performance.” It reminded me of the importance in asking behavioral based interview questions and creating opportunities for candidates to share their values during the process. Giving candidates the ability to “interview” the company can lead to greater understanding by everyone involved.

One other thing. I know there are companies out there who tend to look at the new hire’s introductory period as the time for a new employee to prove themselves. To show that the company didn’t make a hiring mistake. Maybe it’s time to view the introductory period as an investment. For an employee to be successful, the company needs to commit to the employee’s success from the start. Not after a probationary period.

Employee engagement occurs when companies are committed to employee success long before the employee ever gets hired. It’s part of their corporate DNA and infused in every aspect of the business. In fact, the companies that build engagement into their culture probably don’t talk about it. It just happens.

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