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How to Hire and Retain Highly Engaged Employees

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Highly engaged employees are a valuable resource, since they also tend to be reliable and successful. Every company should try to stack its roster with such people, since successful employees make for a successful business. By attracting and retaining employees who are engaged and motivated, companies are more likely to secure a solid future for themselves as well as their employees. It’s a cycle that benefits all who are involved.

There are a lot of ways to increase your chances of hiring high-caliber, engaged employees. Once you’ve signed these kinds of employees, though, you must do your part to maintain that engagement. Engagement is a two way street. It requires your efforts as well as the employee’s, so that you can create a partnership together that is mutually beneficial. But getting there isn’t always an easy task. A 2014 Gallup study showed that less than 32% of the U.S. workforce was engaged, 51% were just plain not engaged, and 18% were considered to be actively disengaged. That’s three different ways of saying there are a bunch of people out there who are not engaged in their work.

Going Beyond HR

When it comes to attracting and retaining highly engaged employees, the retaining aspect is not only the responsibility of HR, but of the company as a whole. It could also be argued that highly engaged employees aren’t hired; they are made. While a candidate might show some characteristics that would imply a higher likelihood of engagement, it’s the company’s responsibility to go beyond that. A company that fosters a culture and environment that encourages and enables higher levels of engagement is going to keep these types of employees around. If it’s left only up to HR, a company may be able to attract these types of employees, but retaining them might be an entirely different story.


Throughout the recruitment process, there are specific questions you can ask and different ways to assess or evaluate candidates, in order to determine whether or not they are likely to be engaged individuals. Being conscious of these processes and proactively using such strategies will help get the ball rolling.


Motivation is going to look different at different points in the process. The motivation a candidate may show while trying to get a position might be very different from the motivation you see once he or she is hired. Unfortunately, for many, once the job is obtained, they are less motivated because they already have what they were going for. That is where incentives or recognition can play a big part in motivating employees as well as keeping them around.


Making sure that communication is efficient, accurate, and concise throughout the recruiting process, and also once an employee is hired. Not only does this show respect for individual employees, it’s a way to let them know exactly what is expected of them. On the front end, you need to be able to communicate job expectations and environmental factors. On the back end, you need to be able to work with an employee and make sure that everyone is consistently on the same page. When communication is effective, problems can often been dealt with before they become bigger problems, everyone stays happier, and employees feel respected. That goes a long way towards encouraging them to stay engaged for a long time.

Eric FriedmanEric Friedman, Author

Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of online skills testing for pre-employment assessment and benchmarking. Eric has degrees in Psychology and Business, and a fascination with matching people with roles they’re best at, and that they enjoy.

A company built on exceptional talent from Internet technology, test development, and iterative product development, eSkill leads as an independent assessment company helping HR departments with relevant and accurate job-based tests.

To learn more about Eric and eSkill, visit the company website at www.eskill.com, or contact him on LinkedIn.

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