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employee_engagementWhen you consider the concept of engagement, the first question to ask yourself is “just what is it exactly?” The term is tossed around a lot and people have a variety of definitions for it. Specifically in HR, when talking about employee engagement, we have one definition that we use at Engaged HR that correlates employee engagement to the level of job satisfaction and employee contribution. You can find out more about what we believe about employee engagement here.

Having said that, ultimately, when we distill it down into its simplest form engagement is about our emotional connection to something. And it isn’t just for employees in a workplace – it is for everyone. We are hard wired as human beings to need connection to others to thrive and engagement is a form of that connection. Engagement is an emotional connection between you and something you care about. That connection then motivates you to go above and beyond. It is the reason you jump out of bed in the morning and it is the reason you do more than required. It is why you are engaged.

Engagement is an emotional connection between you and something you care about.Tweet: Engagement is an emotional connection between you and something you care about @EngagedHR http://ctt.ec/f4445+

And don’t we all want that? Don’t we all want to be jazzed about what we are doing, to love our work and to have opportunities to “get in the flow”? In my mind, engagement is the fastest path to creativity, to being productive, and to feeling connected. Essentially, it comes full circle.

So what creates this emotional connection in us which results in engagement? I see there being four steps to engagement.

Step One – Be Intentional

As you think about your own engagement, a powerful question to ask yourself is one that forces you to be intentional; in your actions, in your words and in your thoughts.

Ask yourself, “Is this the kind of (Person? Manager? Daughter? Friend?) I want to be?”

This is most powerful in a moment of action. Just before you are about to say something, ask yourself this question and watch what it does to your intention. It can bring clarity and commitment to your next step with a resounding “Yes, this is the kind of {insert role} I want to be.” Or, it can stop you in your tracks, force you to reconsider and to choose a different intention. “No, I don’t want to be the kind of {insert role} who says something that could damage this connection.” If that happens, take a breath, rethink your response, think about your intention and choose to connect in a way that builds engagement.

Your assignment: Next time you are about to respond to a situation that calls for an “in the moment” reaction, stop and ask yourself “Is this the kind of person I want to be?” Let me know what happens!

Next time: Step Two – Create Significance

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