Recruiting, Talent, Technology

Ghost Whisperer Explains How Technology Can Engage Jobseekers

In a candidate-driven market, jobseekers have the upper hand. Because of this, candidate “ghosting” remains an annoying issue for many employers across the country. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, ghosting occurs when a candidate cuts all communication with recruiters and hiring managers.

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Ghosting can happen at any stage of the hiring process, with some candidates even going so far as to accept the job offer and then not show up on their first day. Sanja Licina, PhD, Future of Organizations Practice Lead at Globant, joins us to discuss how technology can keep jobseekers and employees alike engaged during the hiring process, as well as throughout their career with your company.

HR Daily Advisor: Now that jobseekers have the upper hand in the employment market, how can employers and recruiters get ahead of the competition to ensure that a candidate won’t ghost them?

Licina: To get ahead of the competition and prevent ghosting, it’s important for recruiters to share information about the organizational culture during the hiring process, especially making sure that candidates are knowledgeable about the company’s mission; vision; and, particularly, values.

Strong culture is a crucial component for jobseekers today, and by aligning values during the interview process, employers can benefit, as well, by getting a stronger sense of how likely candidates are to thrive in the company.

HR Daily Advisor: Once a candidate has been hired (and did not ghost the company), how can you keep the employee engaged so he or she doesn’t end up ghosting in the future?

Licina: Following the interview process, and once a candidate has been hired, it’s important for employers to keep a pulse on employee engagement the moment the candidate walks in the door and throughout his or her time at the company.

Some ways employers can gauge how well employees are acclimating to the culture are by evaluating how well they are living up to the organization’s cultural values, looking at whether they are building relationships with colleagues, and determining how they’re performing on various projects. With average tenure becoming shorter over time, it’s critical to monitor the employee experience from the moment workers enter the organization.

Beyond this, employees need to continually feel engaged with the company’s culture to reduce potential ghosting and attrition. To ensure this, employers need to maintain open communication channels, making it easy for employees to share feedback with their managers and have open discussions when things aren’t going well.

What’s even more important than giving employees a channel to share feedback is showing them that they are being heard and that action is being taken based on their feedback.

One reason employees “ghost” is they feel they’ve shared their frustrations but the company didn’t do anything to improve their experience. Feeling appreciated and recognized, for example, is a strong factor in increasing engagement. Employees want to feel that their work, thoughts, and insights are making a difference.”

HR Daily Advisor:  Would you recommend doing employee engagement surveys to get a pulse on your workforce’s engagement levels? If so, how frequent should employers survey their workers?

Licina: One of the benefits of employee experience technology is that employers can get a continual pulse on the organizational heartbeat based on behavioral data by seeing how their employees interact and their levels of engagement in real time.

Surveys were traditionally used to understand employee engagement, but because behavioral data give a much more valuable real-time view into organizational dynamics, we’re starting to see the purpose of traditional surveys change.

Rather than companies using surveys to monitor the organizational pulse, companies can use them to understand why the pulse they are seeing may be changing.

HR Daily Advisor: What role does technology play in keeping candidates and employees engaged?

Licina: Not all HR technology is created equal. We hear many examples of when a company implemented something that didn’t gain traction with employees. This is why creating a platform that is easy to use and familiar is important. When employees see the benefit of engaging with the technology, they see “what’s in it for them.”

Technology also provides a way for people to connect on a much deeper level. For example, we reviewed how feedback is exchanged in our organization via our technology, and we found that well over 50% of the feedback that was shared was not solicited, meaning that employees are just sending others suggestions on their strengths and how they can improve.

This is nearly unheard of without technology—a person stopping by someone’s desk or sending an e-mail saying, “Hey, I was just thinking about the last meeting we were in and wanted to share some feedback.” So, we’re seeing that technology has created a channel to help employees organizationwide grow at a much faster pace.

It’s created a completely new dynamic across the organization and resolved the main issue we’ve been hearing from employees, especially Millennials, which is that they want to know how they can improve in real time.

We’ve also seen in our research that nearly all employees want to feel recognized and appreciated for their work. But unfortunately, this often depends on the manager—and we know how often employees leave companies because of bad managers.

So again, opening up a way for everyone to recognize each other for a job well done—tied to organizational values—can strengthen organizational culture while celebrating those who are making a difference every day.

HR Daily Advisor: An increasing number of employers have begun using voice-of-the-employee (VoE) technology to monitor engagement levels within their organization. Can you please provide more detail about this technology?

Licina: There has been a rise in design thinking when it comes to building human capital solutions, and with this shift, there has been an increase in organizations’ really wanting to understand their employees on a deeper level than they have before.

Traditionally, employers used surveys to better understand their workforce, and over time, they moved from annual to more frequent, pulse, and often segmented surveys. What we know, however, is that actions often speak louder than words, so we are seeing a shift in the trend to not only listen to the voice of the employee but also look at his or her actions to better understand the level of engagement, wants, and needs.

Some employee experience platforms help managers become aware of interactions that might otherwise go unnoticed. This technology gives employees a different way to be heard or seen, which is especially valuable for those who might feel uncomfortable sharing direct feedback with others.

In this way, technology encourages engagement by giving employees a space that is similar to what they are used to in their personal lives to interact and become more connected to the organization. These solutions also give leadership a clearer understanding of what they need to do to make sure their organization is a place employees love to work.

HR Daily Advisor: What are the pros and cons for employers that opt to use VoE technology?

Licina: There are many positive outcomes for employers that opt to use employee experience technology. For example, it strengthens relationships and provides a space for employees to easily connect with colleagues whom they may not typically have a chance to interact with outside of their daily responsibilities.

By creating a happy, connected workplace, employers are more likely to see benefits outside of reducing attrition, such as employees’ excitement about coming to work and feeling more ownership and pride in their contributions.

One thing to keep in mind when using employee experience technology is that it’s important to use these data for good. We’ve seen a number of examples in the media when personal data have been misused, which can rightfully cause concern.

So, it’s important to be transparent with employees about how the information they share will be used to help create a company they are proud to be a part of and where they can make a bigger difference.

HR Daily Advisor: If an employer suspects that an employee is disengaged and disconnected from his or her work, what strategies should the employer use to intervene and retain that worker?

Licina: It’s important for companies to keep an eye on employee engagement in real time because, in many ways, it’s the heartbeat of the organization. If employers take action as soon as they detect disengagement, they are much more likely to successfully intervene and retain key employees than if they try to take action when people are already considering leaving the organization.

Disengagement can happen on the individual or the group level (an entire department or company, for example), and this is where real-time behavioral data can be valuable in showing the employer what kind of intervention would be most effective.

Although data can be an incredible diagnostic tool, it’s important for employers to personally follow up with employees to get a deeper understanding of the reason for disengagement and gather additional ideas from employees regarding changing the workplace environment.

Once the action is taken, employers should also be transparent about it so employees see that their engagement is a priority and can gain a better understanding of how the organization is evolving so it becomes a place where they want to stay and thrive.