Employee Engagement Starts with Your Recruiting Process

Building the groundwork for employee engagement starts when a person engages with an organization as a job candidate. As our Director of People Science, Performance David Ostberg, says, “It is then that you have the opportunity to really set expectations and create a level of trust, or ‘psychological safety’, that you are being honest and open with the individual regarding what the job is really about.”

As a Senior Recruiter on Culture Amp’s Talent Acquisition team, I have firsthand experience shaping employee engagement from the beginning. Recently, we’ve been revamping our recruiting and hiring process with employee engagement in mind. I’m excited to share how these changes have worked for us, and how they might benefit your organization.

Show people how they will impact company success

Rather than creating job descriptions that rattle off qualifications or ask candidates to pre-emptively check boxes, we create role narratives that tell a story. We want to communicate the bigger goal we’re working on (helping companies put their people and culture first) and how each person will contribute to that goal. Many of our newest job descriptions come with a role narrative section that gives an overview of what success looks like within the first 90 days as well as a ‘realistic job preview’ to help candidates understand what a day in the life is truly like.

One of the high drivers of employee engagement that we saw in our most recent benchmark report, was leaders demonstrating that people are important to the company’s success. We define individual success from the beginning with things like the 90-day plan. In the later stages of the interview process, all candidates have a one-on-one conversation with a founder, all of whom are part of our leadership team. Even though we’re growing quickly, we’re keeping this important step in our interview process. It allows candidates to get to know their leaders and build a relationship early on.

Be open and honest in your interview process

Working in the startup world is not for everyone, and even the growth stage of a startup can affect an individual’s success. Whenever I’m interviewing someone, I make a point to be transparent about what our culture is like and how we’re growing. For example, I want to know how a candidate will adapt to changes like the company outgrowing existing processes, or the evolution of their own role. In all of our candidate interactions, we’re striving for open and honest two-way communication, another important driver for employee engagement.

The interview process allows both parties to collect data on each other in order to make informed decisions. This encompases things like scope of role, range of responsibilities, internal salary benchmarking and benefits. We’re very upfront about what we offer, and I encourage candidates to ask questions. Something I always discuss when interviewing future members of our Sales team is why we choose to operate under a no-commission model. This setup is fairly unique to Culture Amp, and our Global VP Sales, Ramon Elzinga, explains why it works for us.

Collect feedback from your new hires

While our industry research shows us some focus areas that will likely impact employee engagement, we still gather feedback from every candidate and our own new hires. All candidates (whether hired or not) receive a link to our candidate survey where they can provide us with detailed feedback about each stage of their hiring process. Additionally, our onboarding surveys take place after two weeks and six weeks of someone starting in their new role.

The feedback from these surveys lets the People and Experience team know what they valued from their recruiting and onboarding experience and if there is anything they are unsure about moving forward. For our company Mentors (managers), the onboarding survey provides valuable feedback on how their new hire is settling into their role. Collecting feedback early on also helps to create a culture of feedback, so that when our engagement survey rolls around, people know their voice will be heard and their feedback acted upon.

Join us at Greenhouse OPEN 2019 for panels and interactive workshops that will offer new perspectives, practical advice and hands-on experience on the most important Talent topics, like employee engagement. Register today!

Rachel Napolitano

Rachel Napolitano is a Senior Recruiter at Culture Amp.

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Employee Experience