kings of companies

In the land (and era) characterized by labor market shortage, the company that retains and engages their talent the best, will prevail.

The original quote — in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king — is credited to Desiderius Erasmus’s Adagia around the year 1500. Half a millennium later, the principle remains underrated.

While all your competitors focus on the ultra-short-term, hiring whoever applies, the companies who have a long-term strategy, will reign supreme. Those companies take bi-directional professional expectations into account to build a career perspective.

All hail to the kings of companies.

storm brewing

Thinking ahead for a couple of decades is tough for humans. If it weren’t, our climate would face fewer challenges today.

When a storm is coming, measures to limit damage are taken (relatively) fast. After the storm has blown by, few measures are taken to anticipate the next storm better.

HR has been weathering many storms lately. Solving employee engagement issues as they occur, on the one hand. Unfortunately, by then, it’s usually already too late. Fixing retention issues by hiring, on the other hand. The list of storm-combatting directives goes on…

The initiatives above are legitimate, short-term ways of combatting an HR storm today. However, the (hr) climate crisis will not fix itself without a strategic plan, spanning multiple years even.

Employee engagement is a proactive game.

retention levels

There are levels to employee retention. Ordered from disastrous to excellent.

People are leaving faster than you can properly onboard them. They run away from your company as if they’ve seen a ghost. That’s bad.

People aren’t considering leaving your company at all. At the same time, they stopped being engaged years ago. They stay with your company due to the benefits your company provides. Their productivity is still stuck in the previous century.

People are considering leaving but really take their time. They’re concerned with how job-hopping might look on their resume, so they stay on for about a year, albeit unengaged.

Your employees are somewhat engaged and aren’t actively looking for a new job. If a better offer comes along, though, they might leave.

Your employees are super engaged. Beginning to think of leaving your company isn’t even an option.

Question: what’s worse than the first couple of levels of retention? Answer: not knowing where your employees are.

in reverse

There isn’t one particular place in human resources processes where companies should focus on employee engagement. That’s a long way of saying, focus on employee engagement in every single step of the way.

There is, however, a natural order. Reverse that is.

Suppose people are leaving faster than you can hire them. In that case, there really is no point in focusing heavily on employee engagement at the start of the funnel, is there? Only to see them pack up and go a couple of months later?

Start mapping employee engagement with the people who are already there. Map employee engagement efforts in a retention process, and work your way back to recruitment.