26 Ways to Keep Your People Engaged Without Resorting to Shock Therapy

The word “engage” comes from the French engagier, which means, “to make a pledge.”

That’s the big question: Why do people pledge themselves to you?

IN SHORT: Why do people engage?

Last year, I shared a collection of answers to this question in a popular piece called, Twenty Secrets Smart Leaders Know About Engaging Their People.

The response was overwhelming. I received more emails, tweets and reprints than usual. Apparently that list struck a nerve with a lot of my readers. And as a result, knowing I’d merely scratched the surface, I’ve continued to research the topic of why people engage.

Here are my latest findings. Please feel free to add your ideas to the list:1. People engage when power decentralizes. Have you given them the ability to influence their work environment?

2. People engage when the babysitting stops. How are you allowing them to establish their own structures to maintain focus?

3. People engage when they’ve been given permission to flex the muscle of why. Do you give them room to express commitment in their own unique way?

4. People engage when your words speak directly to what’s important to them. Does their inbox need another boring, overextended piece of corporate communication that people delete immediately or – at best – peruse passively?

5. People engage when they can invest in things they truly admire. What if dollars aren’t the defining factor of your people’s commitment?

6. People engage when they’re treated according to their own unique values. Are you discerning and testing how each of your people want to be treated, or trying to save time by treating everybody the exact same way?

7. People engage when they experience a real and regular connection between the duty of today and the dream of tomorrow. Are you telling people what your demands are or asking people what their dreams are?

8. People engage when they view their role as a stepping-stone, not a sinking ship. How long ago did your team give up on the possibly of meaningful work?

9. People engage when gratitude is palpable and recurrent. Are you trying to make recognition a corporate initiative or a constitutional ingredient?

10. People engage when they’re given permission to pursue their dreams. Are you still operating from the old paradigm that people come to work to make money?

11. People engage when they can express themselves without resorting to code. At your organization, do ideas flow in an open and unrestricted environment?

12. People engage when you stop asking them to edit themselves. What system can you install to remove the restriction of individual expression?

13. People engage when their internal compasses are honored. How will you liberate them from being in conflict with their own values?

14. People engage when they’re allowed to lead the kind of life they want. Do people view your company an economic mechanism and little more?

15. People engage when they don’t need to ask permission to let their personal brand shine. Do you work for a human organization or an indoctrination center that strips people of their individuality on a daily basis?

16. People engage when the feeling of formality doesn’t keep them from communicating freely. Do your employees come to work every day because they love it, or because you’ve degraded them into obedient soul dead conformist worker bees?

17. People engage when they don’t have to meet compliance just to take a piss. Are you empowering people to execute with all their might or restricting people to make excuse with all your policies?

18. People engage when they’re not bullied into to delivering impersonal, emotionless non-service. Is your work experience mechanical and transactional or emotional and transformational?

19. People engage when they’re not forced to adhere to rigid plans created through manipulation, punishment and coercion. Are your people innately committed or fearfully complying?

20. People engage when individual expression isn’t restricted. How are you petitioning people to inject their personality into everything they do?

21. People engage when they can dress how they want. Why is your organization still using dress code to convey class, hierarchy and status?

22. People engage when their leaders end the lip service. How are you making your mission more than a statement?

23. People engage when their big ideas aren’t jailed. How is your corporate veil of bigness and anonymity thwarting creativity?

24. People engage when they’re given wide discretion to spend company resources on the people who matter. Where is your organization sacrificing customer experience for corporate expense?

25. People engage when they’re given a safe place where individity creativity can shine. Who are you trying to make just like you?

26. People engage when they’re motivated intrinsically. How can you enable them to activate their own internal generators?

How will you avoid bombing your next employee engagement survey?

For the list called, “35 Things You Simply Can’t Do,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor

Never the same speech twice.

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