While many managers assume that they can tell if their team is engaged, that isn’t always the case. Many employees put their best foot forward when the boss is around, masking any negative feelings they may have to keep the peace.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t figure out if your team is actively happy to show up for work every day. Before you start hiring in Cleveland, it’s wise to figure out if your team is engaged. That way, you’ll know if they are genuinely at full productivity, and, if they aren’t, whether some simple performance-boosting adjustments are all you really need.
If you can’t tell if your team is engaged and actively happy to show up to work every day, here’s how you can figure it out.
Meeting or Exceeding Expectations
One of the easiest ways to gauge engagement is determining whether your team is merely meeting expectations or actively working to exceed them. Happy employees are often willing to go the extra mile, striving to be at their best even when less than that would be deemed acceptable.
Spend some time evaluating each employee’s performance against any expectations you’ve set. See if your team is simply scraping by, doing just what is asked on every assignment, or if they do more on a regular basis. While even engaged employees may not exceed expectations at every step, they will do so often enough for it to be noticeable.
Engaged employees tend to be open, honest, and helpful. They willingly share information about their projects, skills, and anything else that can help the team excel. Additionally, their contributions are constructive and focused, more often than not.
On the other side of the equation, disengaged employees may withhold information. This could be intentional or incidental. At times, they may keep something close to the chest because they resent the idea of sharing. However, a decline in mood may reduce their urge to engage with others, incidentally creating a silo because they withdraw from the team. It could also lead them to be confrontational or antagonistic when speaking with others.
Observe your employees’ interactions. See how they communicate and share with one another, as well as how frequently they connect. If an employee is an open, active communicator, that’s a good sign. If they aren’t, that could indicate low morale or disengagement.
Disengaged employees tend to stick with the status quo. They aren’t actively seeking chances to take anything beyond what’s on their plates, even if they aren’t currently overburdened.
Now, an overworked or overtasked employee may act similarly to a disengaged one, so managers do need to take workloads into consideration. However, if that isn’t an issue and the employee still seems disinterested in stretching, that could be a troubling sign.
In contrast, when an employee is engaged, they tend to actively pursue success. This could include anything from actively participating in professional development programs, working diligently with a mentor, requesting new responsibilities once they’ve mastered their current duties, or anything in a similar vein.
Reflect on how the employee views new tasks or opportunities. How they receive them can give you clues about their level of engagement.
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