By Amanda L. McKisson, PHR “Do what you love!” A common mantra heard in career advice circles. Our rising economy is fueling optimism for doing what you love versus just having a job that pays the bills. There is optimism for employers anticipating business growth as well as optimism in the minds of employees with hopes of finding that dream job. As the gears of the U.S. economy once again begin to accelerate, the pendulum swings toward a talent-driven job market. Employees begin to feel more confident that they actually could leave behind the daily grind and do what their heart truly desires. This adds to the challenge employers face in keeping the hearts and minds of their top talent from wandering to greener pastures. Employers have been trying to figure out the employee attract/engage/retain puzzle for decades. Nonetheless, employee engagement still seems like a unicorn in the break room: most employers want one, but they just can’t seem to find the real thing. It’s not for lack of trying. In the 80s and well into the 90s there were hefty sign-on bonuses and gifts to attract talent. Then, corporate break rooms transformed from a sparse room with free coffee to a plush escape with comfy sofas, foosball tables, and free snacks. But has it worked? Not so much. Even after spending millions, approaching billions, on efforts to increase engagement in the workplace, polls show the level of employee engagement today is struggling at best. There is an emerging theory that getting employees to love what they do for your business may be less about tangible perks AT the office and more about what employees feel in their heart about intangible things NOT at the office. Susan LaMotte of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy, wrote an article on this theory for The Harvard Business Review. Whichever theory employers choose to apply, winning the engagement game may always seem elusive. Unfortunately, there is no Cupid to spear employees with an “I love my job” arrow. So, what’s an employer to do? It’s probably best to start at the beginning of the employee’s relationship with the company. In other words, hire right. Taking care to hire people who not only possess the requisite skills and competencies needed to do the job but are also well-suited to the company culture, sets up a better likelihood of high engagement. Identifying the right talent that will fit with the organization is a bit more involved than hiring straight off a resume. A resume, after all, is just a piece of paper with words on it. An employee is a human being, with talent, temperament, skills, sensitivities and everything else that goes into being human. Hiring the right talent is truly an art, attesting to the value of a skilled talent acquisition professional, often a part of HR, who will deeply understand all the dynamics of the business and artfully match the business needs to candidate qualities. Not all companies have the budget or bandwidth to support 100% of its talent acquisition needs. Therefore, developing a close relationship with an outside staffing specialist can be an essential tool in meeting workforce goals. Priority Staffing employs multiple resources to evaluate candidate fit, such as candid interview environments, skills assessments, and delivering realistic employment expectations. We do much of the hiring legwork and put the best candidates in front of hiring management. Save valuable time and resources and become part of a true hiring love triangle — better fit — better hires — better engagement. Amanda L. McKisson is a certified HR professional, based in the Atlanta area. She has worked in the field for over 20 years and recently begun sharing her HR viewpoint by writing for blogs and other HR content.