There has been a lot of talk in the human resources world about workplace engagement. Some companies are using HR technology in ways that actually penalize employees rather than engage them.  Yet, the idea of engaging employees has become more important to HR departments as they realize that Generations X and Y are motivated in different ways than previous generations were.

Most people think of employee engagement as the same thing as employee satisfaction. However, research has shown that just because an employee is satisfied with their job doesn’t mean they’re giving their employers the effort they’d give to a job they were truly passionate about. Employee satisfaction also doesn’t ensure that their talents and skills are aligned with their organization’s goals and objectives.


The Definition of Engagement

Now that we know that engagement isn’t the same as satisfaction, you may be wondering: what exactly do we mean by engagement? According to the experts, engagement refers to the heightened emotional connection that some employees feel toward their organization. These feelings encourage them to work harder and to put in greater effort. It affects both attitudes and behaviors.

Another way to put it is that engagement refers to how much employees care and how passionate they are about their companies and their jobs. A person’s strengths are not always aligned with what they’re good at. Instead, their strengths are a reflection of what they love to do. Though much of engagement can’t be easily quantified, there are some data points that most companies should have access to in order to quantify and assess employee engagement.


Understanding the Data Around Employee Engagement

Many companies automate the collection of attendance data, including using electronic time sheets. Finding data is as simple as looking at the number of unplanned absences, or tardiness. Studies have shown that excessive overtime can be a sign that employees are going to burn out and eventually leave, and human resources and document management systems can show who is compliant with scheduling requirements, like a requirement to work at least one Saturday per month.

A document management system can also show which training and development programs employees have been through, whether they completed them, and if they completed them within the timeframe set out. Other data sets can also provide insights into employee engagement, including how often employees refer others for open positions, whether or not they’re participating in wellness programs, and involvement in other company initiatives.


The Role a Document Management System Can Play

Now that employers are starting to understand that satisfaction isn’t as important as engagement, what can they do about it? One of the essential steps they should take is to create a system for tracking engagement in their paperless office. That’s where document management systems come in.

Gone are the days of self-reporting. Most people understand that when you ask employees to evaluate themselves or their experiences within a company you won’t necessarily get accurate data. They may misjudge the amount of time they spend on specific projects, they may be afraid their employers will retaliate if they share that they’re not engaged, or they may simply make errors.

A document management system (DMS) can be put in place that automatically tracks a wide range of things. A DMS can give administrators information on which files are accessed by which users, the specific times at which they were accessed, and what changes were made. This data on file sharing can help management get a clear idea of how long certain tasks are actually taking, and how thorough their employees are when they work on various files.


How to Identify Problems with Engagement

Generally, organizations will become aware of issues with engagement within the first year their retention rates decrease. Many companies don’t realize there is a problem until they realize they’re unable to keep their newest employees. If your company is in that spot, then it may be time to look at updating your file sharing and other technological features. Today’s generation wants to work in an office that is up to date with the latest in IT.

It’s common for an organization to have a lot of structure and involvement for the first few weeks of a new employee working with them, but after a few months those employees often feel abandoned with no follow up. Savvy companies may choose at this time to sit down with them and ask key questions, such as how the role is different than the new employee expected, or what the company could do to better acclimate them to their new organization.

For many organizations, engagement activities are introduced with great fanfare, but fade away as day-to-day duties get in the way. Be sure to integrate a DMS with your organization’s work to help you stay on top of employee engagement. You’ll have access to important employee data and can discover who is burnt out and who is not engaged, and how you can best address it.