Take an Employee Engagement Selfie
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Okay, so the Chicago Bulls did not go very far in the playoffs this year, but I did get to go to one playoff game. I took this “selfie” and thought my inaugural blog would be about the need for everyone to take an “engagement selfie.” If you are not familiar with what that is, let me empower you—and your organization.


Like Ellen’s “groupie” photo at the Oscars this year, organizations have been taking “engagement groupies,” conducting employee engagement surveys that group individual responses to protect the confidentiality of the respondent. In these surveys, responsibility and ownership for engagement rests on the shoulders of management and the employer, creating a paternalistic model by which the employee has no ownership or responsibility for their own engagement.

Owning engagement 

Simply stated, the effort someone puts into any relationship should be a two-way street. Whether it is family, friends, clubs, church, temple, or community, people must give and take to maintain healthy relationships. If a person always takes and never give back, others will likely feel the relationship is unbalanced and unfair.

A large part of one’s engagement stems from personal choice. I believe that each of us wakes up in the morning empowered with the choice of approaching the day (and our job) with either optimism and engagement at one end, toxic negativity and disengagement at the other end, or a simple lack of passion or vigor somewhere in the middle.


As an entrepreneur, I have a very special appreciation for engagement. Anyone who has started a company from scratch could spend hours reciting all of the challenges and barriers that threatened the ultimate success of their venture. Almost every successful entrepreneur I have known will credit their achievements to determination and perseverance during the times when all indications were that the venture was doomed to fail. Choosing optimism and a passion for being engaged has brought them to this success.

“Luck is the point at which opportunity meets preparation,” a quote attributed to many people, from Seneca, the first-century Roman Philosopher, to Oprah. Think about it. Do you make an effort to make your own luck or are you waiting for it to appear from out of nowhere?

New situations pose new challenges. Acceptance of a new challenge begins with choosing an attitude of dealing with it. Instead of choosing the road to victimhood and disengagement, we can empower ourselves and choose positivity and engagement. Try it.

Take this free “engagement selfie” survey, which will confidentially reveal the extent of your own engagement as an employee, as well as offer useful tips on what you can do on your own to become more engaged at work.

Moving forward

In recent times, taking “engagement groupie” surveys has become passé. But I am thrilled to note that well-known author and speaker Marshall Goldsmith is still touting engagement as the “missing 50 percent.” However, most organizations are still not rebalancing the ownership for employee engagement to both the employer and employee. As such, it is wonderful to see that the topic is regaining attention and acclaim.

It is time that we rebalance the ownership of employee engagement by empowering employees to see how engaged they really are and get useful advice on how they themselves can have a powerful impact on their own engagement. 

About the Author

Kevin Sheridan is an internationally recognized keynote speaker, a New York Times bestselling author, and one of the most sought after voices in the world on the topic of employee engagement. He spent 30 years as a high-level human capital management consultant helping some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, which earned him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of employee engagement. His book Building a Magnetic Culture made six bestseller lists, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He also wrote The Virtual Manager, which explores how to more effectively manage remote workers. Kevin received a master of business administration with a concentration in strategy, human resources management, and organizational behavior from Harvard Business School.

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