Employee Engagement in 5 Easy Pieces

BY Shep Hyken
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Aristotle said, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

This could have been the beginning of what we now call employee engagement.  That was a long time ago – over 2,300 years ago!

So, let’s break this simple quotation down.  Just nine words long, and yet it is very powerful.  Here are five simple steps that ultimately lead to happy, fulfilled and engaged employees:

  1. Hire the right person for the right job. Pleasure in the job begins when the employer hires the right employee for the job.  For example, you probably shouldn’t hire an introverted personality to do an outside sales job – and vice-​versa. [Note: hiring and selection assessments help employers avoid bias and blind-​spots, which leads to optimal employee performance and reduced turnover.]
  2. Create fulfilled employees – part one.  While you may make the right hire, the employee has to love what they do.  So, it’s more than the right personality.  It’s that the employee also loves what they do.
  3. Create fulfilled employees – part two.  Even if the employees love what they do, that doesn’t mean they will love working for you or your company.  Be sure the environment is positive and the leadership shows appreciation.  Appreciation is so very important in employee fulfillment. This is what takes the fulfilled employee to the next level.  They love what they do and they love working for you.  That’s a winning combination.
  4. The pursuit of perfection.  The word perfection is a metaphor for a goal.  Putting perfection in the work does not necessarily mean making the work perfect, although that would be nice.  It’s actually the effort of trying to be perfect – or hitting a goal.  While the goal could be perfection, it may also mean hitting a sales number – or any other measurable goal.  Put a good person in the right job, make him or her feel great about his or her work, and have a goal that gives the employee a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Employee engagement.  This isn’t so much a step as it is the result of hiring the right person, who loves the job that they have been hired to do, and is appreciated for his or her efforts and talents.  Engaged employees work harder, care more about the company, the people they work with and ultimately care more about the customer.

Employee engagement, even if it has been called something else, has been relevant for literally thousands of years.  And, thousands of years from now, it will still be relevant.  People who are fulfilled and find pleasure in their work will strive for perfection.  They will strive to meet and exceed their goals.  To paraphrase Aristotle: Their fulfillment of the work will put perfection into the work.