Not Hand Size – Heart Size: The Art of Engagement and Loyalty


Share on LinkedIn

While political candidates have been making headlines challenging one another on the comparative “size of their hands” – a client of mine has demonstrated it really is the size of one’s heart that matters.

I am honored to say I know and work with a company from Sheboygan, Wisconsin whose leaders care so much about their people and whose people care so much about one another that they have done the virtually unthinkable!

I’ll get to the company name in a moment, but first please indulge me by answering the following query:

Name 3 of America’s top places to work….

I suspect you probably have Google on your list.  After all, they are the perennial winner of Fortune magazines “Best Companies to Work For” List…

It’s hard to match Googles’ amenities as they seek to attract and retain some of the world’s best and brightest tech minds.  Only macro-businesses like Google could even think of offering perks like:

  • Free breakfast, lunch, and dinner across the more than 12 restaurants on their complex;
  • Generous materinity and paternity leave policies;
  • Innovation budgets;
  • Rich knowledge sharing;
  • Dog friendly policies in office; and yes, even
  • Death benefits. Google provides the beneficiary of a deceased employee the employees’ current salary for up to 10 years as well as providing life insurance.

You might even name some of the other “typical suspects” on the list of legendary employee-obsessed brands like…..Wegmans, The Container Store, or REI.

However,  I’m betting that few of you would name the “David” in the land of these“Goliath” companies.  That brand would be the name of my client (one who moved up from the #3 position on Fortune’s list last year in it’s first year of eligibility) to the place right behind #1 Google.  Ok here’s the name…..wait for it…..drum roll please…

Acuity Insurance

For some of you who think that was a typo or who said “huh?”  Let me repeat the name – Acuity Insurance.

Lest you ask, “Who is Acuity?” – let me give you the abridged version.

Acuity Insurance is approximately the 62nd largest insurer in the US, operating in approximately 25 states, and generating over $1.2 billion in revenue through 1,000 plus independent agencies, managing over $3.5 billion in assets, and employing over 1,200 people. ACUITY is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best and also received an A+ rating from Standard and Poor’s.

As for the innovative, vital, and soulful culture at Acuity, I will let you read Fortune magazine to learn more about that and how Acuity was chosen the 2nd best workplace in the nation.

For our purposes, I will simply suggest leaders at Acuity are “big of heart.”  They understand that:

  • Great customer experiences begin with authentic care and concern for your people,
  • Employee engagement requires a leadership investment of time and resources,
  • Attracting and retaining outstanding people is a substantial business advantage,
  • Employee engagement is essentially the amount of discretionary effort extended by your people, and
  • There are few things more important about leadership than developing and growing talent.

Congratulations Ben, Wally, Laura, Shane and all that contribute to the amazing work environment at Acuity.

In a time when people often confuse size with substance, your commitment to care and compassion inspires us all!

Real leaders focus on heart size particularly in the way they care about their people!

Real leaders focus on heart size particularly in the way they care about their people!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


  1. Southwest Airlines, (stock symbol LUV), is known for its industry leading service and engagement of its employees. SWA embraces the 5 think you mentioned, combined with one more, economic transparency. Treating employees like adults, involving them in the economics of the business, helping them to think and act like business partners, consistently drives profitable growth. The information engages their minds, and the trust engages their hearts. For 20+ years, clients of mine have consistently improved profits and the lives of the employees who drive those profits. Often referred to as Open-Book Management, here are a couple of articles that provide more context:
    Here are two short client videos that demonstrate employee engagement in a large company and a small one. Judge for yourself:
    Carlson Travel call center video:
    Anthony Wilder Design Build video:

  2. Bill, thanks for adding the economic transparency component! I had the good fortune of presenting at an Open Book Management conference and it was such an honor given my passion for helping team members understand where the money comes from and how to add value. Joseph


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here