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Evaluating your employee engagement levels

June 29, 2018 By    

We have talked in the last few articles about leadership. Let’s dig into the employee side of business this month – specifically, the level of engagement your employees might or might not have at your business and how this might impact your bottom line.

What is employee engagement? As you ponder this question, let me tell you about some of my experiences. The No. 1 most engaging business that I worked for was a national agriculture company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was my first big job in human resources. By big, I mean I was responsible for human resources for all U.S. operations, which included 2,800 employees and a support team of HR operations practitioners based in two states.

The one thing that immediately comes to mind about that company is my boss, the CEO of U.S. operations. He and I would travel to the states and visit with our farm center managers and teams. He knew everyone’s name wherever we would go. He would visit individually with all of the employees and make a personal impression. This is one of the reasons the employees never became anxious when “the boss” was coming to town.

Another powerful thing he did was write handwritten notes to the employees. He always wrote the notes on the plane ride back to Denver. He made sure they were mailed right away so the employee would quickly recall the interaction. How cool is that?

When is the last time you handwrote a note to one of your employees? The return on this investment is sure to reap huge rewards when it comes to employee engagement at your company.

Defining “engagement”

So, what is employee engagement?

According to the Society for Human Resources Management, the terms “engagement” and “job satisfaction” are often used interchangeably, but research reveals key differences in the components that determine each. Here are how some experts define engagement in terms of employees’ feelings and behavior.

Engaged employees feel focused and intensely involved in their work. They are enthusiastic and have a sense of urgency. Engaged behavior is persistent, proactive and adaptive in ways that expand the job roles as necessary. Engaged employees go beyond job descriptions.

Satisfied employees, in contrast, feel pleasant, content and gratified.

The level of employee job satisfaction in an organization often relates to factors over which the organization has control (such as pay, benefits and job security), whereas engagement levels are largely in direct control or significantly influenced by the employee’s manager (through job assignments, trust, recognition and day-to-day communications).

It’s my hope that as you have been reading through this you have been thinking about your team and mentally putting them in the appropriate “bucket.” Engaged or not engaged, that is the question.

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