When we are truly engaged in a task we block out any noise or distractions they may surround us.

Hours melt away as we become intensely focused on an activity, hobby, or project, harnessing a passion that fuels us to produce something great.

To be deeply engaged in anything is a rewarding and enjoyable experience--but what does it mean to be truly engaged as an employee in the workplace?

At my startup Porch.com, our mission is two-fold: help everyone love their home by making it easy to improve and maintain and to build a truly great company.

Building a workplace of genuinely engaged employees and a place where people love to work is a requirement to becoming great.

It starts by improving the way we measure and identify engagement.

Genuinely engaged employees have a deep emotional commitment to a company and its mission. Unfortunately, surveys and self-reporting can only go so far as to indicate how happy or satisfied employees, but true engagement speaks louder in action than it does in words.

Below are 4 indicators employee engagement as suggested by a primer from the Harvard Business Review.

1) How much work is done outside of normal work hours?

Do you find that you are routinely staying late or working on weekends, or are you impatiently watching the clock, waiting for the day to end? Voluntarily putting in the extra effort to do quality work is a good indicator that you or your employees are sincerely engaged and connected to your company mission.

2) How many connections do you have with people outside of your immediate team?

In the workplace, it's not uncommon for people to only interact with employees who work in their immediate vicinity. Truly engaged employees tend to have networks that expand outside their own team to other areas of the business. As a leader, it's important to help facilitate those connections by giving your employees that might never meet the opportunities to collaborate and interact.

3) What is the percentage of ad-hoc activities/meetings you attend versus mandatory meetings?

How often are employees attending events and meetings outside of mandatory and highly structured meetings? Truly engaged employees have a connection to the mission of the business and feel a responsibility for its progress. The result is a genuine eagerness to be involved in the direction of the business and its people.

4) How much time is spent working with customers outside the normal scope of work?

John Wooden once said, "The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching." The same applies for employee engagement. Employees that routinely go the extra mile to ensure that customers are happy without getting credit is strong sign of high engagement. It's a quality that employees either have or they don't, so it's crucial that managers hire smart and develop a culture that is customer obsessed.

Published on: Dec 31, 2014