According to a recent Gallup poll, 30 percent, or less than one-third, of American workers describe themselves as "engaged" in their jobs and committed to their employers. A larger number, 54 percent, describe themselves as "disengaged" at work and not committed to their employers. These employees report feeling trapped in dull jobs and admit they spend significant amounts of time researching alternative jobs. The final 16 percent define themselves as "actively disengaged," often becoming organizational terrorists who intentionally sabotage other employees' morale.
A recent University of Minnesota study of 1,532 newly hired exempt employees holding positions in administration, engineering, IT, marketing and service job categories reveals that "engaged" employees differ from "disengaged" employees from their first day of hiring. From early on, disengaged employees don't emotionally commit to the organization into which they've been hired.
Significant reasons for this stem from the applicant's work orientation and the fact that these new hires don't feel they align with their coworkers' values or the work-place culture and don't feel that they receive sufficient coworker approval. During the course of the 20-month study, 98 of the disengaged employees quit their jobs.
Clearly, employers that want committed, productive, long-term employees need effective strategies for hiring the employees who both fit into the work group and can emotionally commit to a job and the employer.
Although employers need to ascertain these subjective issues when making hiring decisions, they also need to avoid unintentionally discriminating against applicants in protected categories. In Alaska, legally protected categories include race, color, age, sex, national origin, religion, disabilities, parenthood, pregnancy and marital status or changes in marital status.
Employers can best balance the twin challenges of avoiding illegal discrimination while ferreting out job fit and commitment problems with a several-stage hiring process. We recommend that our clients initially e-mail applicants 15 to 30 questions aimed at job fit, motivation and job satisfaction. Not only does an e-mail questionnaire screen-in or weed-out great or poor applicants, the process also saves our employers time and effort by avoiding in-person interviews with applicants whose written responses show problems and applicants who lack sufficient work ethic and job interest to...