Low turnover rates and few attendance problems may be good indicators that employees feel their jobs are worthwhile. But while they come to work on time, employees may be far away in their thoughts, concentration and focus. People may work at a boring job for many years simply for the paycheck, benefits or security. On the other hand, engaged employees complete their assignments or tasks enthusiastically to support the company, their co-workers and the customers. Measuring employee engagement will give valuable clues on improving the quality of work life, productivity and profitability.
Conduct a survey. The Gallop organization came up with 12 survey questions to measure employee engagement. They asked employees if they felt their opinions were valued, if they had a best friend at work, or if they had met recently with their manager/supervisor. Employees will work hard when they know that they are valued, they have the resources they need to be successful, and they have a say in their own destiny. A survey will show the company is interested in employee opinion and give management insight into barriers to employee job satisfaction.
Observe employees at work. Walk around the office, job site or plant. Observe body language. Look for smiles and employees who make eye contact when you approach or pass by. Do they shuffle slowly or walk with a quick, purposeful step? Engaged employees are animated, friendly and approachable. They don’t look at another employee asking for help as an intrusion or distraction. They are willing to stop and give assistance.
Watch the time clock. If employees are standing around at the time clock waiting to punch out as soon as the clock strikes five, the company’s business is not as important as their own time. Managers who leave early or take long lunches give a poor example to the rest of the team. On the other hand, managers who work together with their teams without regard to the clock or their stomachs to meet a deadline set a good example.
Watch participation at meetings. Meetings that consist of one person talking all the time while the rest yawn, look at their watches or secretly check their email under the table indicates that people are bored and uninterested. A measure of employee engagement is whether they believe their opinion is valued and that their input into discussions and decisions is both welcome and considered. Little or no discussion and reluctance to challenge or ask questions are sure signs of employee disengagement.
Look for referrals. Happy employees recruit others to come and work for the company. They want others to share in the positive work environment that they enjoy. They like the idea of having their friends as co-workers in a fun and challenging workplace. They also build positive working relationships that may turn into friendships, making work even more enjoyable. They have a boss that values their talents and input and is willing to give both positive and negative feedback in order to help them grow and succeed.