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How to keep employees engaged – from recruiting to offboarding

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Jacely Voon, General Manager, Human Capital & Corporate Social Responsibility, Fuji Xerox Singapore, affirms that the mark of an effective employee engagement programme is in the little details HR specialists tend to glaze over.

As indicated in Jobstreet Job Happiness Index 2017, almost one in every two Singaporeans are unhappy at work, and this is a startling fact given that a McKinsey study revealed that employee satisfaction is reportedly intertwined with retention.

With the increasing number of company-reviewing platforms – such as Glassdoor where both current and ex-employees get to share their interview and employment experience – I believe it is crucial for HR specialists to approach hiring and exiting processes differently to provide a positive and impressionable experience.

As the HR industry undergoes a wave of transformation, businesses are required to redesign capabilities and adopt technological practices to elevate employees’ experience. To sustain with key differentiation, Fuji Xerox Singapore (FXS) recognises that it is far beyond employee satisfaction but the entire value chain of customer experience that applies to the HR strategy in engaging candidates and internal customers.

Therefore, I have developed a set of practices to be rolled out in FXS in the coming years. These newly designed frameworks of contemporary hiring practices and employee engagement programs sit on the fundamentals of four primary principles:

1. Uplifting HR managers’ capabilities using HR tech

Technology is all the rave in today’s era. Yet, current hiring workflow patterns remain largely manual. It is a norm for the HR department to manually trawl through CVs to pick out candidates whom we feel are best skilled and equipped with relevant attributes. Therefore, to uplift the hiring manager’s capabilities and streamline the processes, I advocate for adoption of modern recruiting systems which capitalise on the use of technology.

As we slowly transit and transform digitally, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will soon be an invaluable tool to help HR departments in identifying the most suitable candidate in the market pool.

Imagine LinkedIn, but on steroids. I aim to partner FXS with recruitment and sourcing market experts to introduce AI technology within our recruitment process. This initiative aids in boosting hiring effectiveness where manual efforts in reviewing candidates’ CVs are now replaced by AI which filters out most compatible individuals based on the list of key traits and words previously drafted by the hiring team.

By equipping our hiring managers with such technology, it helps to streamline processes by automating tedious and/or repetitive tasks. This allows attention to be redirected to other value-adding work which requires attributes such as empathy and creativity that are irreplaceable by bots.

Another potential HR tech I foresee being available in the market includes tailored recruitment notices that emanates a brand’s core values. An example would be Google foo.bar – a pop-up online test that landed an unsuspecting, aspiring computer engineer a position in Google itself while he was researching for an unrelated project on hand.

HR specialists should look at making use of such AI technology to identify suitable candidates more efficiently. Redesigning the job search experience not only elevates the company’s identity and expertise, but also helps the company to attract talents that are better suited for its needs.

2. Redesigning interview processes

After attracting the relevant candidates through a tailored recruitment notice, it is time to relook at interview process.

While it is natural to hold onto the notion that interviewers always have the upper-hand in interviews, and that the interviewees’ fate lies in the interviewers’ hands, it has grown evidently that impressions left by interviewers are just as important (if not more).

While most hiring managers often place their focus on finding the best candidate for the job, they tend to overlook the importance of providing a good interview experience. Hence, I seek to redesign job interview processes in FXS to ensure a positive impression is imparted to each candidate who steps through our door – regardless of the eventual outcome of their application.

Presentation is key. The way we carry out processes matters as it is a representation of our company’s DNA. This includes the nitty-gritty details such as how the interview is conducted, how our hiring managers carry themselves, the way the managers sit throughout the interview, etc. These details are within our control to provide our prospective employees a positive interview process that is reflective of our culture and brand persona. Even if they are not hired eventually, they are now one of FXS’ ‘ambassadors’ who can share their interview experience with future hopefuls and on company-reviewing platforms.

3. Insightful onboarding journey

Another aspect of employees’ engagement that is often overlooked is the time between signing of the hiring agreement to the official first day of work.

Waiting time need not be wasted time. Upon recognising the two to three months gap before they officially join the office – usually the notice period before a currently employed applicant joins us – we can maximise this time by making informative arrangements to help them get ready for their new position.

An initiative I am looking to introduce in FXS is an onboarding online programme which acts as a countdown system for the new hires. On the system, the new employee can find information such as company news alerts, programmes that they can look forward to after officially joining the company, upcoming gatherings where all are invited to, etc. Apart from that, we hope to see candidates make use of the system to keep up to date with the ins-and-outs of the company and be well acquainted with the recent developments in the coming months.

This initiative aims to build a sense of anticipation within the incoming employees as they approach their first day of work. It also provides them an opportunity to get aligned with the course of work through the interactive journey of engagement.

4. Meaningful exiting interview and post-employment

Contrary to popular belief, the end of an employee’s journey is a highly essential part of human relations. It does not mark the end of the relationship between the employees and the company. Rather, it marks a new journey of intentionality.

When an offboarding process is done well, it not only leaves a lasting positive impact on employees, but also displays the company’s genuine desire to invest in every individual.

Besides providing an equally enjoyable exit interview, we are looking to stay in contact with those who left the company by dropping them occasional news alerts to update them with our progress, anniversaries, and milestones achieved – like McKinsey who connects and retains their ex-talents through a networking program. This has since remained a powerful branding tool to position themselves as people who adopt the best practices in the market both internally and externally.

It is in the little details

Ultimately, the mark of an effective employee engagement programme is in the little details HR specialists tend to glaze over. From recruitment, to the onboarding process, and up to even the end of one’s employment with the company, it is important that we create a space for our people to continuously grow and thrive. Reason being, our people are our human intelligence.

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