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  • Teresa Carey

Five Simple Ways to Engage Your Team in Today’s Complex Emotional Economy

Updated: Apr 26

  • Does employee engagement still have you begging for answers?

  • After pay raises, hybrid work or any other number of incentives, are your team members still expressing discontent?

  • Is the emotional economy of your workplace increasingly complicating how you make decisions?

  • How is the fuzziness of the employee well-being metric influencing how you recruit, engage and manage human capital?

In 2020, I spoke about employee well-being vs well-doing as an increasing force of reckoning. The coming tsunami was inevitable.


What are we starting to learn, and more importantly, what are we willing to change?

Forget the yoga mats as an employee engagement tool, according to Gallup. While we’re at it, let’s throw the ping pong tables and walking treadmills into the same pile. While some organizations have been attempting to address well-being and engagement in well-intended ways, what’s really missing may surprise you. As Jon Clifton, Gallup CEO, so aptly states in the video below, we’re adamant about studying and using economic indicators to drive business decisions. What we still haven’t figured out is how to measure and leverage employee engagement data to make the best decisions.


Employee sentiment is clear – whether from the Gallup global survey research cited below or from within your own organization:

  1. Out of 3.3 billion employees globally, 50% are saying, “I’m not clear about my role…” or, depending on how the question is worded, … “I don’t know what’s expected of me.” How can this be? How does this crucial piece of engagement fall through the cracks? How can we possibly still beat the ownership and accountability drum, if it isn’t completely understood within individuals and teams what success should look like?

  2. As though we needed more, yet holding its own as an imperative piece of data, Gallup learned “employees don’t feel they have the resources they need to do their jobs most effectively.” The key enablers like people, technology and systems, in addition to empowerment, are reportedly missing.

To learn more about the highlights from the research, take a look at the thought-provoking 11-minute video here highlighting an interview with Jon Clifton.


Here are the things I often hear about that are simple, yet they’re expressed needs that drive engagement and fulfillment at work:

  • Understand Me – “When you say I understand, it makes me feel understood and seen.” It doesn’t mean you agree. It means you’re choosing to sit in the emotion and feeling with the team member in that moment.

  • Include Me – Asking your team, “What should we do about this to solve it, you’re saying, “We hired you because we know you have answers.”

  • Empower Me – When team members have a clear and direct path for the success factors in their role, AND they are given the resources to make it happen, we’re saying “I’m trusting you and giving you what’s needed to get the job done without reinserting myself in your path of progress.”

  • Respect Me – “Listen, really listen to me when I’m expressing myself after you’ve asked a question.” “Respect me enough to be honest with me, even though the truth may not be what I want to hear.”

  • Care about Me – “When you show me you truly care about me as a person, not just what I contribute to business results, you’re fostering my commitment and loyalty.”

If you’re not able to demonstrate these five basic behaviors that start the path to healthy engagement, what’s stopping you - limited awareness? old habits? allocation of time?


Einstein reminds us, “The measure of Intelligence is the ability to change.” Emotionally and intellectually intelligent leaders embrace change. Only then, are they able to understand, include, empower, respect and care for their most valuable asset to drive engagement.

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