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Hard(ly) at Work, Thanks to Recruiting 2.0

If you’re an employer, you readily accept that there are varying degrees to which your employees are engaged with your organization. And by “engaged,” I mean willing to put forth extra effort and intent to stay with the company. Their sense of connection to and affiliation with your organization may swing from one end of the spectrum to the other on any given day…you know that too. But once that swing carries them over the line into “disengaged,” they have likely reached the point of no return. There is no saving them. They are now almost fully focused on finding a new job and that leaves them very little time to add any value to your gig. In fact, they’ve figured out how to add just enough value so you’ll tolerate any perceived reduction in their productivity. You suck at letting people go who are under-performing anyway. It will be months before you’re ready to take any measurable action with them…

And the really cool thing (for them) is that they can actively, aggressively, and quite effectively conduct their job search from the comfort of the desk, office, and paycheck you’re providing them. Recruiting 2.0 is on the scene big time and it is at their finger-tips – beaming from that computer you’ve given them to do their work. With some time spent on your clock every day, they’ll land the perfect role…elsewhere. And because you’re not paying attention, this is what it’s (conservatively) costing you to fund their job search (assuming they make $60K annually).

What a Normally Engaged Employee Does

What a Disengaged Employee Does

What it’s Costing You

8:00 Arrives at the Office Begins their commute



Actively and Productively Contributes

Arrives at the Office


8:30-9:00 Facebook, baby


9:00-9:30 Scrub the Job Boards


9:30-10:00 Submits several on-line applications


10:00-11:00 Actively and productively contributes
11:00-11:30 Fine tunes the resume and cover letters


11:30-12:30 Networks over lunch


12:30-1:00 Actively and productively contributes
1:00-1:30 Facebook, baby


1:30-2:00 Researches, Browses the Internet


2:00-2:30 Twitter Job Chat


2:30-3:30 Phone interviewed by a prospective employer


3:30-4:00 Networks over coffee


4:00-4:30 Actively and productively contributes
4:30-5:00 LinkedIn, BeKnown, BranchOut, baby


5:00-5:30 Leaves the Office


5:30 Leaves the Office At home sipping a cold one…








Now figure out how many disengaged employees you have and multiply that number by the $11.7K above. That’s some serious dough, my brother. And it’s dough that could very easily be diverted to lots of other stuff that might in fact keep the rest of your workforce from swinging to that point of no return. Don’t read this post and go “oh shit, I need to block access to all the job boards and social networking sites.” You’re solving for the wrong problem there (and creating other ones, IMHO). Rather, get better at continually measuring and monitoring where EACH INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE is on the engagement continuum. No, you don’t do that through a survey! You do it by talking to them…all the fracking time…about how they are doing, what they are doing, whether they’d rather be doing something else. You do it by showing genuine interest in their career and their life.

According to the National Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education, children whose parents talked to them “a lot” were 37 percent less likely to use drugs than children whose parents “never” brought up the subject. Replace ‘children’ with ‘employees,’ ‘parents’ with ‘employers,’ and ‘to use drugs’ with ‘look for a new job.’ You get the idea. I hope.

Image Credit:slworking2 (via Compfight)

  • Happiily

    I know that the intent of this article is to speak to the issue of “Recruiting 2.0″ but in the context of overall employee engagement, isn’t it a misnomer to categorize engaged vs disengaged in such stark “either or?”

    I’d submit that being disengaged doesn’t simply look like looking for another job while at the existing one (though that’s where it almost always ends). The greater cost to employers is where disengagement is just beginning and is stemming from specific, identifiable issues.

    To your point, this means employers *talking* actively with their employees but unless all managers are “high EQ” they are often unable to move past the first answers (e.g. “fine” “great” “ok” etc) and into the real substance of the issues.

    Somehow, employers have to be able to create an environment where in near real-time, employees are able to express the issues that are impacting their state of mind and thus their productivity.

    At happiily (, we’ve built a simple tool that allows employees to anonymously input their sentiments about the key aspects of their work and see how their sentiments compare (anonymously) to their colleagues. With our manager’s dashboard, managers can see the aggregate of their employees’ moods so as to understand what’s impacting moods positively and negatively.

    Ultimately, I’m a view that tools like happiily *should’t* be needed, that is to say, I think we should strive to be able to engage directly with our colleagues and employees. However, we find that our tool is in strong demand to assist with enhancing candor in organizations.

    Thanks for the post.


    Tom Williams,
    Chief Happiness Officer, happiily

  • Anonymous

    Tom, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I think you have a really good thing going with Happiily and I’d love to talk with you more about it. Please call me/Email me any time to do so. Just to be clear: few things are black and white in the workplace and engagement certainly isn’t one of them. the intent of the post is merely to demonstrate that some people, when disengaged, can do nothing but look for a new job and 2.0 makes it much easier to do that on an employer’s dime. they’ve reached the point of no return (hyperbole) when that happens and everything from there on out is a (sunk) opportunity cost. Let’s connect!

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  • Eileenmccauley

    Business owners and CEO’s casually cut employee hours and pay, force them to pick up additional workload with no compensation and down-size years-loyal people all while awarding themselves 25% raises and are shocked, shocked! when their people don’t show 1950′s style company loyality. Someday these management geniuses will have to wake up and realize that the worker/employer relationship is a two way street.

  • Name clarification

    Please note: I wrote the previous comment, but our e-mail is under my wife’s name. If you want to flame me – or say “hear hear”, I’m Dennis Main.

  • Jzucconi

    spoken like someone who never risked his entire savings, home and kid’s college on a business venture. try it sometime and maybe your tune will change

  • Ayo

    Good article. I however do not see how an employee would put a measly 3 hours per day into a full day’s job and their employer would not notice. I expect that managers/employers have clearly defined roles for employees, and if employees don’t put sufficient effort into their tasks, managers should notice.

  • Charlie Judy, SPHR

    the fact Dennis may not ever have played the role of an entrepreneur doesn’t change the fact employers still do what he’s discussing. and yes that kind of activity compromises sense of loyalty and commitment. it is a reality of business today. is it inexcusable? no way – it’s business. but when employers have to do stuff like this, they just have to pay a little closer attention to their people’s level of engagement. otherwise, they end up paying the piper in opportunity cost…and usually it’s for all the reasons and all the wrong employees (i.e. the ones they really don’t want to lose.)

  • Charlie Judy, SPHR

    ohhh i wish this weren’t true. but it is, my friend. in fact, i’d argue that employees can get away with fewer productive hours. i can attest to this in more ways than i care to admit. sad, i know.

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