How to Hire Engaged Employees: 4 Tips for Finding The Right People

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There’s no limit to what you can achieve if your team is full of committed high-performers. Save time and money by finding and hiring the right people for your company. Engaged employees are critical to your success.

It’s difficult it can be to find good people… 

The hiring process is both costly and time-consuming

And once you’ve finally managed to hire a promising candidate, the real work has only begun.

You still have to bring them on board and help them adapt to your culture… Then training will take up even more resources.

Imagine going through all of this, only to realize that the person isn’t the right fit after all. After a few months, they’re not meeting your expectations or have a poor attitude… They start causing problems for other team members, affecting team morale and overall performance…

Not a good situation, right?

Unfortunately, it’s all too common.

Your employees are your most valuable asset, so you’ve got to get the hiring process right from the beginning. You may want to take the following tips to heart:

1. Understand Candidate Motivations

What do you look for in a job candidate?

Most business owners and HR departments choose to play it safe and go with the traditional skills. They look for organizational skills, the ability to work in teams, goal orientation, etc.

Job applicants are so aware of these sought-after skills, you can count on them to be included in their resumes. On paper, it may seem these applicants are skillful, but you won’t know the truth until they start working at your company.

…But that’s not even the major issue. 

Even if a candidate has all the skills you’re looking for, they might still underperform… And that’s the likely outcome if their motivations aren’t aligned with your business atmosphere. 

In such a scenario, they won’t have the motivation to put their skills to good use. This is where engaged employees are so important.

You can even have two people – with the exact same skillset – who perform very differently at your company. It’s vital to look beyond qualifications, and take the time to inspect their motivations. Determine if a candidate is a good fit for your business goals and environment. Are they likely to be an engaged employee, or simply a a person with the right resume and the wrong fit for your culture?

When it comes to motivations, we recommend a tool called PRINT (we use it with our business and executive coaching clients). It’s a type of personality test that can give you a window into a candidate’s subconscious.

2. Don’t Try to “Clone” Your Best People

Business owners know the satisfaction of finding the right employee.

And it’s easy to use them as a model for judging all future candidates against. However, this can also be a big mistake.

This ties back to the previous point. Remember, not everyone who looks like a good fit on paper will turn out that way.

Here’s a real-life story about a company that had to replace their project manager… 

This company had been working on a lucrative project, although its standards were inflexible and its tasks were mundane and repetitive. The company had been performing well on this project – and they had the project manager to thank for it.

To show their gratitude, the company gave that project manager a long-overdue promotion.

However, that also meant that they’d have to find a replacement. 

Unsurprisingly, the management decided to look for someone with the same skillset as the soon-to-be-promoted project manager.

When it came to performance, however, these two employees turned out to be very different indeed.

The new manager had completely different motivations. The original manager was comfortable with the repetitive tasks required by that project. In contrast, the new manager  valued her uniqueness and outside-the-box thinking. These aren’t bad qualities, but they didn’t fit the project.

And then the inevitable happened…The new manager repeatedly ignored protocol in favor of shaking things up. With the usual workflow disrupted, problems ensued.

Eventually, the company had to transfer the new project manager to another position that suited her better. This time they found someone who had the proper motivations to take over that lucrative but repetitive project.

The next time you feel the urge to clone your best people, the focus shouldn’t be on finding the same skills. Look for those with motivations that match the job requirements. Matched motivations lead to engaged employees.

3. Help Your People Hit Their Marks

Most managers set goals for their employees. They can be anything: sales targets, leads per marketing strategy, and more. The point is, they’re not allowing the employees to define the outcome themselves.

This approach often ends up hurting your people’s engagement with their jobs, instead of motivating them to meet their goals.

Everyone has their own standards when it comes to goals and achievements. 

The same goal might be too challenging for one person, but nowhere near challenging enough for another. In either event, you’re risking the demotivation and disengagement.

A much better alternative is to seek your employees’ input regarding their own standards and targets. You can do this before you actually hire somebody, and it’s a good way to gauge the capability of a candidate… And whether they’ll become an engaged employee.

For example, let’s say that you’re hiring a salesperson. The standard for your business might be for each salesperson to close 40 deals a month. During the interview, you can ask the candidate about their own monthly goals, without mentioning your standard. 

This can tell you a lot about the candidate. A goal too high might indicate that their head’s in the clouds… A goal too low tells you they are playing it safe.

If they set a target that works for you, that’s a good sign you’re in alignment!

After that, your job is to provide your people with everything they need to do their best work. That’s how you can explore their full potential and keep them engaged and committed.

4. Quantify Your Culture

What are your core values? What behaviors are acceptable or desirable to you? How do you reward or punish employees, and for what actions do you do so?

These are only some of the questions that can help you quantify your culture. Once it’s defined, you can communicate it to the candidates. 

There are a number of reasons why this is critical to finding the right people… 

You need to set expectations from the get-go. When someone joins your team, they need to know about their role and how to perform it according to your system. If you can discuss this during the hiring process, it shows candidates if the company culture fits their values and motivations.

Also, quantifying your culture makes it easier to narrow down your list of candidates. You’ll have standards (beyond just skills) that you can use to sort through the applicants.

As you go about the interview process, think about what your business stands for. What would the most suitable person for this position be motivated by? What type of personality would they have? What do truly engaged employees look like?

You’ll want to let the candidates know about your culture from the beginning. This will benefit both your business and the candidates. 

There’s no point in either party pursuing things if it’s not the right fit.

Commitment Is the Key

Working with disengaged people might be okay in the short term – if your company is in good shape. In the long run, however, it almost always results in poor performance. Engaged employees (your best team members) work for you because they truly want to, not because they have to.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to find people who are willing to commit to the success of your business. Of course, finding such people is only one piece of the puzzle. You must also continue to find ways to keep your people engaged over the course of their employment.

There are a host of things you can do to spur employee engagement and commitment. Sign up for our free daily business coaching lessons to find out more.

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