Employee Engagement Leads to Working Harder and Caring More


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Five Steps to Achieve Employee Fulfillment

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 four 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.
  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 their 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 their 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.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


  1. Robert – Thanks for sending that in. I read that article the other day. I actually agree with it. Understanding what motivates and demotivates employees makes a big difference. What we think is working, might not be working – and vice-versa. That was how I interpreted the article. Thanks for your comment!

  2. The whole employee engagement thing has some aspects of the “buzzword syndrome” in management circles, and yet, we have a lot of research to support it. On the other hand I never see mentioned the various critiques both practically and academically that are around. See http://performance-appraisals.org/appraisal-library/Employee_Engagement/Criticism/ for several of these.

    What I’m sure we can agree upon is that we NEED motivated staff, who also have an orientation towards pleasing customers, no matter what we call it, and that it’s managers who have a responsibility for creating that climate. Tough slog, though when customer service reps are treated as almost at the bottom in terms of pay and recognition within most companies, yes?

  3. Agree that “Employee Engagement” is a buzz word and very popular phrase, that continues to grow in popularity. Years ago when I first read the Aristotle quote, I never connected it with employee engagement. Yet when it was brought to my attention just last week, it made complete sense. It was obvious. I hope that this concept is here to stay.

  4. I think Shep’s 4 steps puts a context around “employee engagement” that is often missing from the research.

    The research I reviewed for my article Employee Engagement: Putting the Cart Before the Horse? generally supports the conclusion that engagement is correlated with business performance. But most of the studies don’t show cause and effect.

    Everyone uses the correlations to beat the drum for employee happiness, but one longitudinal study with 35 organizations over eight years actually found a stronger causal directionality flows from financial and market performance to overall job satisfaction.

    In other words, focus on what will improve business performance, and that will drive higher levels of engagement.

    I think engagement is a bit like satisfaction or maybe efficiency. It’s a good thing if properly directed towards value creation for customers and/or the company. But increasing engagement isn’t necessarily something that automatically makes more loyal customers. Look at Gallup’s 12 questions to assess employee engagement and you’ll see “customer” is never mentioned.

    To Shep’s steps I would add a step 0 — define the right job that, if performed well, would drive customer loyalty. Then hire the right person for that job.

    Robert said it perfectly: “…we need motivated staff, who also have an orientation towards pleasing customers” and “managers who have a responsibility for creating that climate.”

  5. Bob – I love step 0. Clearly defining the job will help you hire the right person. More than the responsibilities, define the perfect personality. Great idea.

    Bob, you do the community a great service with Customer Think. Thank you for all you do!


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