ENGAGEMENT MAGIC® Training & Certification, Pennsylvania

Based on the book, MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement, this interactive workshop is designed to increase engagement by helping participants understand where they find their passion, meaning, and drive and apply it to their jobs. The results from their Employee Engagement MAGIC self-assessment are provided during the session and are used to help create a personal engagement action plan. Learning activities, games, and videos help participants internalize each concept while allowing time to discuss and debate ideas in small groups. Finally, managers are provided practical ideas and activities to use with their own employees to boost engagement including how to conduct a one-on-one engagement interview with their employees.

ENGAGEMENT MAGIC® Training & Certification, Orlando FL

Based on the book, MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement, this interactive workshop is designed to increase engagement by helping participants understand where they find their passion, meaning, and drive and apply it to their jobs. The results from their Employee Engagement MAGIC self-assessment are provided during the session and are used to help create a personal engagement action plan. Learning activities, games, and videos help participants internalize each concept while allowing time to discuss and debate ideas in small groups. Finally, managers are provided practical ideas and activities to use with their own employees to boost engagement including how to conduct a one-on-one engagement interview with their employees.

Employee Engagement: Flow


Think about a time when work seemed effortless. When the hours flew by without your even realizing. When you finished a time-consuming task and you weren’t emotionally drained. When words, notes, or ideas seemed to spring from your mind fully formed. Have you ever felt like that? You probably have, and you probably loved it. That’s flow. It’s when hard work becomes easy and excellence ceases to be a chore. At times, the end of the day may mean you’re exhausted. At the same time, what you do is exciting, renewing, and energizing. You’re ready to take on another round.


Because employees are motivated in great part by the desire to become more proficient at something that matters to them, everyone ultimately aspires to what is referred to as flow, the mental state first described by psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow, he says, is, “The state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.” pg. 131, MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.


Download our new whitepaper, “MAGIC: Five Keys for Managers to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.”



Employee Engagement: Fully Engaged


Employee engagement is an emotional state where we feel passionate, energetic, and committed toward our work. In turn, we fully invest our best selves—our hearts, spirits, minds, and hands—in the work we do. When you see engagement, you know it. When you feel engaged at work, you know it. Most people spend a large portion of their life’s time invested in their careers. How important is it to spend that time being fully engaged in the work we do? Are we happier being fully engaged in our work or simply passing the time collecting a paycheck?


Download the new whitepaper, MAGIC: Five Keys for Managers to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. In other words, we’re most engaged not when we’re kicking back but when we’re kicking butt.” pg. 131, MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.

Finding Meaning at Work

Does Your Job Have Meaning Beyond the Work Itself?


When was the last time you felt that the work you were doing had meaning or was about more than just making money? Have you ever done something that filled you so completely that you could work nonstop for hours without realizing it?


If you have, then you know what we mean by “MEANING.” Meaning is how we go from job, to career, to calling. It’s when you know that your work makes a difference that you care about personally. Meaning is why we work beyond the obvious reason of getting a paycheck. It’s also critical because it’s the factor that sustains us during times of difficulty, stress, or challenge. It helps us see past issues and focus on reasons we’re working in the first place. It’s where the heart really kicks in.


DecisionWise Employee Engagement MeaningZookeepers are an interesting example.

Researchersstudying zookeepers found that they are uniquely engaged in their work (something any four-year-old could have told you.). The most interesting part of the research centered on why the zookeepers were so engaged in what is by any standard a demanding occupation. The researchers discovered that while much of the work is decidedly unglamorous (cleaning up animal poop) and some is downright dangerous (working with injured or agitated animals), the zookeepers also felt their work had a greater purpose: caring for every aspect of their jobs was engaging, their jobs as a whole engaged them deeply. They not only brought their hearts and spirits to their work, they did something significant with their minds and hands because of their feelings. They created their own engagement.


Finding Meaning at Work

So many things create meaning for employees and help them become engaged in their jobs. While nowhere near complete, here is a small list of ways we’ve seen employees find meaning in their jobs and become engaged.

    • Mentoring younger employees
    • Earning enough money to pay for their kids to be the first in their family to attend college
    • Helping create products that clean the environment
    • Preventing crime or abuse
    • Improving people’s health
    • Giving people a voice
    • Assembling an awesome product
    • Designing beautiful things
    • Keeping people safe
    • Rescuing or caring for wildlife or environment

How do you find meaning at work? What other ways can you add to this list?


More insight along these lines can be found in our book, MAGIC, Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.



1J.Stuart Bunderson and Jeffery A. Thompson, “Measuring the Meaning of Meaningful Work: Development and Validation of the Comprehensive Meaningful Work Scale” (CMWS), Group & Organization Management 37, (October 1, 2012): 655-85.


Engaged Versus Disengaged Organizations

Engaged Versus Disengaged Organizations

Employee Engagement Surveys are great in measuring engaged versus disengaged organizations.

They serve as a gauge for not only identifying current levels of engagement, but also in predicting future issues, such as potential attrition, quality issues, and even profitability concerns. They help us identify best practices, and share these with other parts of the organization. In short, they serve as an excellent real-time check on the health of the culture within the organization.

But, aside from looking at survey results, how can we tell whether or not we have an engaged organization?

Taken from our latest book, MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement, we’ve put together a short list of what to expect in an engaged organization versus one that is disengaged:

Engaged Organization Disengaged Organization
Employees take primary responsibility for their own engagement. Employees leave engagement up to the organization.
Employees are the strongest advocates for their company and their brand; our research shows that in these companies, more than 80 percent feel that an insult to the company is also a personal insult. Employees don’t care about the organization, and talk negatively about their jobs and superiors.
Employees remain committed, even during hard times. During difficult times, employees complain, blame, shirk duties, or leave (psychologically or physically).
Employees eagerly bring quality and safety issues to management’s attention. Employees have little commitment to safety or quality, beyond required compliance.
Employees create energy in others that can be felt–it’s almost palpable. Employees drain energy from others. The organization feels lethargic.
There is appreciation, gratitude, and willingness to contribute. Employees feel entitled. They become resentful when they don’t receive what they feel entitled to.
Employees engage customers, vendors, and each other. Employees are apathetic.
Employees can engage whether at the office, telecommuting, or traveling. Employees won’t put forth discretionary effort away from the supervision of bosses.
Collaboration is active and enthusiastic. Sabotage is occurring, whether actively or passively.
There is a “we” mentality. There is a “me” mentality.
The organization is self-led, empowered, and determined. The organization is over-managed and under-led.
Feelings of engagement and love for the job are genuine. Enthusiasm for the job is blatantly artificial.


Download Whitepaper MAGIC

5 Examples of Toxic Workplace Practices that Kill Employee Engagement

We spend a lot of time discussing how to increase employee engagement, but what about the things that will immediately nix those efforts? Sure you can create development plans for your employees and share a meaningful company vision, but those efforts will be for naught if any of these toxic elements exist in the workplace:

  1. Oppressive Boss: Years ago I spent a significant amount of time working as a volunteer. I was thrilled to spend my time doing work that I found personally meaningful, challenging, and impactful in an organization where I felt connected. I thought nothing could bring me down from this engagement high. About halfway through my time there, I started reporting to an extremely demeaning boss. He questioned every detail of my work, and no matter how much success I demonstrated or effort I exerted, I was never good enough. I soon found myself going through the motions (using my hands and mind), but I’d lost all of my passion for the work. My heart and spirit weren’t in it anymore. Luckily after just a few months I received a new boss, and I quickly realized the difference. The new boss helped create an environment of trust, growth, and meaning where I could choose to be engaged again.
  2. Toxic Co-worker: This is the “one bad apple” idea. I once worked closely with a man who never had anything positive to say about our company. You know the type. He constantly complained about processes and politics. Prior to working with him, I hadn’t noticed any of these issues and was fairly engaged in my work; however, as I started thinking more about his perspective, I began to wonder if he was right. I found myself quickly spiraling into a disengaged state, and I no longer felt the same enthusiasm for my work.
  3. Unsafe Environment: In our book MAGIC, we site an example of an automobile manufacturing plant where an employee was assaulted in the parking lot on the way to work. Talk about an instant engagement killer! Safety is a basic hygiene factor that certainly doesn’t cause engagement, but the lack thereof makes engagement impossible.
  4. Burnout: The perpetual state of too much to do and too little time. I once worked with a team of brilliant engineers who started out passionate about their work, but after two years of insufficient resources leading to missed deadlines, retention on the team suffered.
  5. Ethical Concerns: This can include everything from reporting tips as a waitress to accounting at Enron. I once had a job where I was regularly asked to create reports which included numbers that I thought were misleading. I wasn’t the person ultimately responsible for accuracy, but it still didn’t feel right. I found it difficult to fully engage in my work when I was faced with an ethical dilemma on a regular basis. Still, ethics report may help you identify some problems existing in the employee’s environment.

As a manager, you should watch for signs of any of these toxic elements that will kill employee engagement. Managers need to ensure that employees have an environment in which they can choose to be engaged. Engagement is still a 50-50 proposition, but a toxic environment won’t allow any employee to bring his or her 50% to the equation.


Download Whitepaper MAGIC

7 Ways Executive Leadership Can Improve Employee Engagement

Research on the ROI of employee engagement has proven time and again that organizations that create an engaging environment perform better than their competitors.  Results show that engaged companies:

  • Experience a 19.2 percent growth in operating income (over a 12-month period)
  • Grow profits as much as three times than their competitors
  • Have employees that are 87 percent less likely to leave the organization
  • Have two times higher productivity
  • Show as much as a 55% increase in customer satisfaction scores

Executive leadership can improve employee engagement by implementing some of these seven simple and low-cost initiatives that will drive organizational performance.

  1. Communication efforts that connect workers with the direct results of their work
  2. Clear vision and direction
  3. A corporate culture that reflects and promotes a set of widely held, clear values
  4. Inviting and acting on employee ideas and feedback
  5. Attention to satisfaction factors such as compensation, perks, and physical security
  6. Apply strengths tests to help discover and develop their strengths to improve performance and engagement at work
  7. Programs that help employees develop new skills and pursue innovative ideas without the fear of failure
  8. Allowing employees to better control the conditions of their environment

These initiatives work provided they are based on an intimate knowledge of what your employees care about, what motives them, and what they hope to get from work beyond a paycheck. It’s the responsibility of leadership teams to create the atmosphere where employees are able to engage. There are as many strategies and tactics that can inspire employees to engage as there are different kinds of organizations, and not all need to be radical or costly.


How to Leverage the Five Keys of Employee Engagement

magic-modelTo become an engaged employee, you first need to have the basic elements of job satisfaction. These include pay, benefits, tools and resources, and a safe working environment. Once you are satisfied with these elements, you can fully engage in your work. Our research shows that the five keys to employee engagement include Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact, and Connection.


We’re commonly asked: “Do I have to have all five MAGIC keys present in order to be engaged?”


The simple answer is yes. But it goes deeper than that. A few points are critical to understand in response to this question:

  1. Every variation of the MAGIC keys need not be present in order for you to engage. Let’s look at autonomy, for example. In our roles as consultants working with our partners on engagement initiatives, we spend a good deal of time onsite in their facilities, our spatial and temporal autonomy is restricted. We have some degree of control, but that’s limited by client needs. Are we disengaged? Not at all. We have a great deal of task autonomy, as well as social autonomy. While it’s important for each MAGIC key to be present in order for you to engage, these keys can be present in different ways.
  2. For most people, different MAGIC keys carry different weight. For you, connection may be critical; for others, the idea of social connection is actually disengaging (introverted much?). The socially reticent person may still find organizational connection to be important.
  3. What engages you will not necessarily engage another person. Company engagement initiatives that try to impose engagement on employees are doomed for the simple reason that while a corporate plan to have employees volunteer at local homeless shelters may resonate with some employees, it won’t resonate with all of them.
  4. With engagement, frequency and intensity matter. Do you find meaning in what you do every day or only on occasion? Is the work you do deeply meaningful to the degree to which it feels like your life’s mission, or is it something you merely feel is important until something better comes along? The greater the frequency and intensity with which you experience the MAGIC keys, the greater your level of engagement will be.

The point is to leverage the five keys of employee engagement in a personal way that makes sense for you. If you find that one key is lacking, either try to improve it or look for strength in the other keys to fulfill your need to be engaged.


Download Whitepaper MAGIC

Three Examples of Employee Engagement Failures

It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.” – Peter Gibbons, Office Space

Initech is the fictional software company from the movie Office Space that probably doesn’t even know how to spell engagement; the employees either stare at their desks, war with the printers, (although sometimes you cannot help this), or kill time shuffling papers from place to place. On a scale of one to engaged, Initech ranks in at a -23. Don’t be Initech. Hawaiian-shirt days are a no-no. Even though this company is fictional, unfortunately companies that lack serious engagement for their employees still exist.

Look online for a staffing agency near me and get help from teams that can deliver solutions for janitorial staffing, grounds, building maintenance, production and security to name few.

Find that hard to believe? Here are three examples of employee engagement failures:

    1. In 2011 Wells Fargo, worried its recent announcement of a $3.8 billion profit wasn’t “sexy” enough for Wall Street, launched Project Compass. Project Compass, a “bottom-up initiative” that would ask their employees to produce ideas that would trim costs and increase efficiencies. This doesn’t sound too bad, except for the fact that the main expense employees were asked to help cut was their own jobs. It’s hard to make employees feel empowered when you’re asking them to help decide which of their friends will be let go.
    1. Torbay Hospital in England was awarded the Acute Healthcare Organization of the Year Award for 2011. Twenty of its leaders enjoyed a lavish dinner and an awards ceremony in London. Sounds fancy. How did they reward the 4,000 employees who helped make the award possible? Kit-Kat bars. Actually, let me rephrase that – the staff got vouchers for Kit-Kat bars.
  1. More and more companies seem to be spending money on incentive bonuses to try to keep their people from leaving in the growing job market. According to salary data website, PayScale.com, 72 percent of employers awarded incentive bonuses in 2012, compared to only 53 percent in 2010. Despite the cash offers, engagement scores overall haven’t budged much across most organizations.

The reason these and other efforts of employee engagement don’t work is simple: they have very little to do with engagement. The cash bonus is a short-term satisfaction factor to make the employees happy, but what we’re looking for here is long-term engagement of the employees. Employee engagement isn’t easy to come by but once it happens, it can transform your organization.

Download Whitepaper MAGIC