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Why happy employees are your best talent acquisition tool

Feb 5, 2018 Carole Oldroyd

Why happy employees are your best talent acquisition tool

About one-third of new employees quit before they reach their six-month anniversary. One-third of them knew they’d leave within the first week. On the flip side, TLNT Talent Management & HR says employees referred by someone already on board are more likely than anyone else to stay on the job long term. When employees are happy everyone is happy. They make referrals and their satisfaction is also a good indicator of the overall health of the organization. People who are happy at work tend to have higher productivity, work better in teams and they boost the company’s bottom line. There’s less attrition, too, which means fewer unwanted job vacancies and talent acquisition work to be done. Beyond the dynamic of teams already on board, employees who love their job can help build a magnetic employer brand that’s attractive to people who aren’t so lucky on the job with another company. Are your employees happy? Here’s why nearly 80 percent of business leaders and talent acquisition professionals believe it absolutely matters.

Employees Know They Have Options and They Aren’t Afraid to Find Them

Virtually every employee, no matter their level or role in the company, is always on the market nowadays. It’s almost a given now that anyone who is employed is also open to a better deal. If it’s with your company, that’s great. But if not, they’re not opposed to hopping to a new job that promises to meet their expectations. In a recent interview with EdSurge, LinkedIn Director of Content, Mordy Golding, made an alarming statement: people tend to have about 15 different jobs throughout their career. Job hopping isn’t bad or unusual anymore; it’s the way of the modern workforce. Part of this trend is likely the result of the recession, which made more people acutely aware of their role in managing their own career. With the scarcity of jobs in the early 2000s, many of the ones who succeeded switched a bit from looking for a job to building and promoting their own brand. According to Forbes, people who stick with one company for more than a few years can expect to earn a lot less than their job-hopping peers. That’s because the typical raise, they explain, is about 3 percent. At a new job, they could negotiate a better deal or keep looking until they find one. Pay is only one issue that people have with their current employer, but it’s a big way to help keep them satisfied. Money isn’t everything, but it does matter. TLNT says if there’s no raise in sight or if it’s watery thin so as not to even keep up with inflation, expect 35 percent of employees to head for greener pastures. “No matter how long your employees have been with your company, they expect a raise every year,” they explain. With all of that said, no one expects (or should expect) to be delirious with joy at work. Happiness on the job isn’t measured in the number of unrealistic benefits that border on pandering to the people who work for you. It’s more about engagement, making them feel appreciated and cultivating an environment that lets them thrive. Company culture becomes the building blocks that help you recruit and hire more of the best candidates.

Company Culture Is a Living Thing That’s Built From Within

There are a few companies that enjoy some level of fame for their amazing talent management and culture. Zappos is one. Google is another. But culture isn’t something that you can buy or write up in a document. Culture is alive, it’s built from within and it requires participation from the C suite down to entry-level employees. Kissmetrics says, “Culture sustains employee enthusiasm.” And that’s because it speaks to something that matters to them both on a personal level and in how they envision their career. Good company culture encourages people to hop right on board with new decisions instead of whispering at lunchtime about the direction the company is going and how it will affect them. When employees are on board, Kissmetrics says, “they’re engaged in the job and want to help the mission succeed.” When that happens, the company succeeds and everyone benefits. Many workers have disengaged from the idea of punching a clock, doing a set of tasks and then clocking back out again at the end of the day. Some still want that, but the trends are in another direction. People who want a richer employee experience where they can grow, but who hack it where they are now, know that there’s something better. That’s part of why people have no qualms about job hopping. Good company culture also proves in action that everyone on the team matters. The more involved employees are and the more their opinions are valued, the more engaged they become. According to Kissmetrics, more and more people want to have a “meaningful impact on the company.” They want to feel like they can play a role in the direction the company goes. This can be an “aha!” moment. In a company with terrific culture, you’re not just a group of people who work in the same building for the same company. You’re a team, and everyone on the team has something of value to contribute. This type of engaging culture is fertile ground for planting the seeds of brand ambassadorship. Think about it. Who would be more likely to brag about your company? Would it be people who punch a clock, or people who are happy because they feel challenged, valued and engaged? Brand ambassadorship can do more for your employer value proposition than almost anything else. Job candidates aren’t shy about scoping out an employer at Glassdoor. What they see there can make or break your chances of recruiting them. On the other hand, your brand ambassadors could paint a picture of your company culture that’s enticing, intriguing and much shinier than other employers who aren’t invested in building a vibrant brand. When your employees are happy and engaged, give them license to say so. Let them blog. Set up an Instagram account. Develop videos. Turn them loose on social media and they’ll become a stronger force than any job ad you could write. It’s not the company name nor any advertising that captures the most attention; it’s your people.

Engaged, Happy Employees are an Incredible Force Behind Talent Acquisition

Your sourcing tactics, strategies and the talent acquisition technology you employ to work more effectively matter. The wording of your job descriptions matter. The benefits that you offer matter, and so does the physical environment of the workplace. But happy employees have a unique appeal. When you think of employees as customers and job candidates as potential ones, you open up a new set of possibilities. The word of a happy customer, or employee, has a broader and more believable reach than anything the company can say. A hiring site landing page might say all of the right things. And if you have employee testimonials there, all the better. But prospective employees tend to give more credence to the words that an employee offers of their own accord. According to Boast, word-of-mouth from actual customers (your employees) breeds trust and instills incentive. Happy customers tend to refer new customers and the new customers are more likely to take them at their word. BrightLocal goes a step further. In a recent survey, they found that nearly 90 percent of people believe testimonials written online are influential under a couple of circumstances:
  • If there are ample testimonials
  • If testimonials are believable (not canned answers)
If employees are happy, and perhaps have an incentive, they’ll make referrals. That’s according to US News and World Report. What’s more, 76 percent of job seekers say referrals are of “extremely high importance.” More referred people are hired, as well. Gallup says the key to attracting a certain type of candidate is understanding the candidates you’ve already got. When you do, you already know much more about the candidates that you need. You improve engagement, as well, and engagement increases the likelihood of referrals. Beyond referrals, there are other ways to entice people to come on board.
  • Learn about your value proposition and implement changes if the realities of working for your company don’t live up to the message
  • Make the company culture part of your job candidate message
  • Get everyone involved in spreading the word.
Happy employees make a happy company and a healthier bottom line. But in your search for more of the best, don’t forget about company leaders. Job hopping isn’t limited to entry-level and middle management. Many executives also keep their ear to the ground and are willing to make the switch if a better opportunity arises. To be a great company with equally great company culture, you need inspirational leaders with vision, says AON.  When company leaders leave, the whole organization can suffer. AON says that one-third of leaders in larger companies are actively looking for another job. A mere two years ago, they explain, that number was only 22 percent and it’s experiencing a sharp, steady upward trend without any signs of leveling off. Talent acquisition constantly evolves. People are more in tune now with their own career path and more inclined to make decisions based on how well the employer fits with their values. A brand that elevates employees, keeps them engaged and encourages outreach could do more for your brand and your ability to lure in the best and the brightest than any blurb that you write extolling the virtues of the company. When employees are happy, it shows in their enthusiasm and desire to stay on board. Whether you’re just beginning to cultivate an amazing team or you need to bring more top talent on board, your people may be your greatest asset. This article originally appeared on RecruitmentADvisor.  

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