Most small business owners will tell you that employee engagement is more art than science.
Although there are many proven engagement strategies floating around the business community, you can never be sure that any given approach to engagement will yield the desired results or outcomes.
Even more frustrating is the fact that it can be difficult to know when your engagement efforts are succeeding and when they are falling flat. Unlike other strategic initiatives, successful employee engagement may not produce clear metrics and benchmarks. Instead, specific employee behaviors will serve as signs that your employee engagement strategy is on the right track.
- Length of workday. Good employers pay attention to the length of their employees' workday. Workers who arrive early and leave late are more committed to meeting personal performance targets than the ones who show up at the last minute and punch out at 5 PM sharp everyday.
- Vocal enthusiasm. Listen to how your employees speak about the company. Engaged workers speak positively about the brand and their employers while disengaged workers tend to speak critically of the company in conversations each other and sometimes even in conversations with customers.
- Investment in success. Do your employees demonstrate genuine concern about how well the company is doing? Committed employees crave progress updates about strategic objectives while disengaged employees limit their concerns to the company's ability to make payroll.
- Customer engagement. Fully committed employees go out of their way to make customers happy. They understand the value of customer loyalty and treat your customers like partners in the organization's success. Encourage your workers to commit to customers by modeling a customer-focused leadership style.
- Personal performance. One of the goals of employee engagement is to encourage employee investment in their own personal development. It's a good sign if an employee exhibits concern about his personal performance and expresses an interest in pursing opportunities that help him improve his ability to play his part in the business.
- Constructive contributions. Committed workers are full of ideas about improvements to the business. Although there is a fine line between constructive suggestions and malicious criticisms, when employees regularly approach you with positive ideas for the business, it's generally a sign that they are personally invested in the company's success.