The largest percentage of your employees are probably just putting in their time, sleepwalking through their workday, not doing anything to harm your business but not engaged either. At least that is what a recent Gallup poll said, according to Dick Finnegan of C-Suite Analytics.

I’ve talked about the subject of employee engagement in a previous blog: Having engaged employees matters. But I think the subject is important enough to require further discussion since it has a direct impact on your bottom line. When your employees are engaged you will see less turnover and increased shareholder return, among other benefits.

One of the most interesting facts that has been discovered about employee engagement is that it correlates with “who you work with every day…and is not about town hall meetings, awards, vision care or employee appreciation week,” Finnegan told attendees at a recent NationaLease meeting.

A big lesson learned from all the research on employee engagement is, “It’s not what you give them, but how much they trust their first line supervisors. First line supervisors most influence employees’ relationships with themselves, colleagues and duties,” Finnegan says.

Many managers think surveying their employees will give them the answers they need to keep employees engaged. While managers may learn something from their internal surveys, they will learn more from what Finnegan calls Stay Interviews.

These interviews are structured discussions with the manger and employee so the manager can learn what needs to be done to strengthen that employee’s engagement. After talking to the employee it is up to the manger to find the right solution.

These interviews do not need to be long and involved. In fact, managers can get all the information they need by asking five questions that focus on what employees look forward to about work, what they are learning, why they stay, when they last thought about leaving, and what the manager can do to make the job better for the employee.

In examining the results of Stay Interviews, it’s interesting that what employees want most are better work processes including things like eliminating unnecessary reports, improving equipment, making others more accountable.

Once Stay Interviews are completed, each manager should forecast the likelihood of an employee staying and develop an engagement plan specific to each employee. The plan could include things like assigning a mentor, rearranging work schedules, coaching, reassigning tasks that do not fit the employee’s skill set.

In these days of low unemployment, it is more important than ever to keep existing employees. Spend a little time improving employee engagement and you will find that not only do employees stay longer, they also work with passion and that helps your bottom line.