Losing new hires to disengagement at work is a problem faced by many organisations. Significant costs such as absenteeism, productivity, quality and customer attrition are associated with this problem.
Several steps can be taken to solve this problem before the new hire joins:
Know and understand the culture of the organisation
Understanding the culture of the organisation is crucial. You will be able to accurately communicate this during the recruitment process. Unsuitable applicants may now opt out of this opportunity.
You understand what it takes to be successful in this environment e.g. resilient and self-motivated; able to work on own initiative for protracted periods; or must be a real team-player etc. Attract the most suitable applicants by communicating the skills and personal qualities required.
Know and understand the different culture particular to each team
Organisational culture is made up from many different cultures. Each team will have its own culture. This is formed by the line manager, the people that work there and the work they do.
The personal qualities required to be successful in each team will be different because of the team culture. Knowing this can help HR develop a more accurate job description and attract the most suitable applicants. They are also more likely to enjoy both the job and the environment and context in which it takes place.
This knowledge also helps avoid unrealistic ‘promises’ made in recruitment communications. Therefore, you should positively communicate the culture to attract people who will relish that environment.
Measure and learn what is driving engagement and disengagement
Measure employee engagement to identify engagement drivers across the organisation and in each team. These drivers will almost certainly vary between teams. For example, if it is known that the key driver of disengagement in a team is ‘communication and clarity’ then solutions can be put in place. If the team is recruiting, the job description can possibly address this team context.
Target interventions at team and line manager level. This helps to create a positive culture within the team environment. It also helps to focus on what ‘works’ in that environment and avoid disengaging new hires so quickly.
Understand the Journey to Disengagement
It is worth looking at how long it takes for new hires to start becoming disengaged. Monitor the trends such as where it happens more quickly and where the descent is slower. This helps tailor on-boarding and support given to new hires in the early days of their employment. Target leadership and management development where needed to help specific team leaders to support and embed new hires.
Single question pulse surveys can monitor what is happening in the organisation and how interventions are impacting on engagement. These can identify how different groups of employees are reacting to certain issues. This will build a bank of valuable feedback for the organisation.
The key to this solution is two fold. First, we need to be able to drill down to team engagement drivers. Second, we also need to enable individual employees to understand and control their own personal engagement drivers.
It is important that the organisation learns from previous experiences and focuses its recruitment communications on the real working environment.