Business management gurus and leadership blogs seem to lean heavily on the word “engagement”, as if this word contains magic secrets that can activate trust and team success. But what exactly is engagement? How does this quality boost overall workplace productivity? And when it’s working for you, how can you tell?

Engagement means focus and commitment.

A small gear has the power to turn a larger gear, and once the large gear begins to turn, other gears can attach to any point on that large circumference and put their own systems into action. But before any of this can take place, that first tiny gear has to mesh into the system. If this doesn’t happen, nothing happens. An ambitious, intelligent employee gazing out a window and thinking about the upcoming weekend is like that tiny gear. They’re spinning in place, expending their energy while the rest of the machine fails to benefit from her knowledge, talent, and problem solving skills.

Engagement can channel resources in the right direction.

Maybe that employee is an expert in a specific area, but their job description doesn’t allow them to apply that expertise very often. Maybe they’re experienced and seasoned, but their responsibilities are similar to that of an entry level employee, and they’re bored. Maybe they don’t feel that their contributions are being respected, so they’re scaling back those contributions. Maybe they don’t trust their boss, so their interest in his or her approval is minimal. In any case, they’re a valuable resource. But their value—whatever it may be — isn’t being tapped. If any of these channels are adjusted, that value might flow forth. A new boss, a shift in responsibilities, or a renewed sense of mutual trust and respect can go a long way.

Engaged employees display specific traits.

As Tolstoy might say, disengaged employees are disengaged in their own ways, and for their own reasons. But engaged employees are all the same. A fully engaged employee displays traits like these:

  • They move around the office instead of hiding at their desk all day.
  • They’re known by their colleagues; they don’t drift in and out anonymously like a ghost.
  • They search for new work and responsibilities instead of sitting still and waiting for assignments.
  • They know how their individual tasks support the larger enterprise.
  • They seem happy to be in the office, not miserable or distracted.
  • They cares how their ideas and contributions are received; they feel bad when they make a mistake and proud when they do well.

Engaged employees aren’t always the ones who work the longest hours, and they aren’t the ones who never make mistakes. But they ARE the ones who care the most about the company, its mission, and their role in team success. For more on how to boost engagement in your workplace, contact the staffing professionals at Expert Staffing.

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