“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, Jul. 28, 1940
“In memory’s telephoto lens, far objects are magnified”
“Memory…is the diary that we all carry about with us”
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
Every company has an institutional memory; one that looks back at its own history remembering its achievements and when it faced challenging times. Employees and potential employees have an institutional memory of sorts as well. They remember those times a company treated them well (or fairly) and those times when they felt cheated, forgotten, ignored, overworked, underpaid, unrecognized, under-appreciated… well, you get the idea. Negative memories seem to have a much longer shelf life than positive ones. Of greater importance and concern is that those negative memories leave employers’ premises every day.
A quick review of several surveys done by organizations including Modern Survey, Quantum Workplace and Gallup suggest anywhere from one to two-thirds of employees are not engaged in their workplace. These “disengaged” employees are less likely to stay with their current organizations exhibiting a lower “intent to stay”. These surveys also agree that increased employee engagement has a positive influence on customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and profits. A few of the factors influencing employee engagement are the quality of employees’ relationships with their managers, their confidence in senior management and if expectations are set for employees and if they receive recognition for meeting them.
Another source relates the top three complaints from job candidate as:
• “No one ever got back to me”
• “The position didn’t turn out to be what I expected”
• “The interviewer didn’t seem very knowledgeable”
Finally, a recent poll by American Enterprise, a division of The American Management Association, noted that 61% of 1000 employers surveyed thought the potential for turnover was “not so urgent” or “not urgent at all.”
Ignorance May Be Bliss But, It Can Be Expensive
If a majority of employers is not concerned about the potential for turnover, is it any wonder that candidates are frustrated and employee engagement is low? Given the data above, from all appearances many employers do not communicate well with candidates who apply for open positions or are not investing the time and effort to engage candidates once they become their employees? I talk with job seekers and employees frequently and they share their negative feelings about employers specifically and openly. I’m sure I am not the only individual with whom they share their frustrations. In every instance where candidate/employee dissatisfaction is communicated to others it cannot bode well for an organization’s reputation in the community. When the word on the street about a company’s work environment and/or hiring process is negative it affects the company’s ability to recruit and retain employees.
Reap What You Sow
The care and feeding of job candidates and employees should be an important part of every company’s people protocol. The interview process should be welcoming, honest and informative and. Hiring every candidate is not possible but his or her interview experience should be positive. Every candidate should leave their interview with a clear picture of a position’s expectations and role in the company. They should understand how the interview process will proceed and deserve communication until eliminated from consideration. Employees need to feel recognized for their efforts and contribution to the success of the organization. Managers must keep their promises and earn employees’ trust. A relational investment in employees (and potential employees) will yield big returns as indicated by all the surveys regarding employee engagement.
Everyone remembers the restaurant where the food or service was poor or the time a salesperson was rude. It’s all about customer service. Angie’s List has grown because people want to know where they can go, be treated well and expect honest and ethical service. If it’s important to people when they buy a car or choose a plumber doesn’t it make sense job candidates and employees would expect the same? If organizations assume folks forget about the treatment they receive from them, they are sadly mistaken.
You owe your employees and every candidate that applies to your organization treatment that equals their value or perceived value. They’ll appreciate it and tell others. If you do not engage or communicate with them, that is what they will remember and tell others. Is it time to reassess how you relate to your employees and treat job candidates? If you asked them would they say, “Thanks for the memories”? Your company’s reputation depends on how they would answer.
Here to serve,
Next month: It’s Not Rocket Science