Employee Engagement Ideas: The Magic Number

Employee Engagement Ideas: The Magic Number

These employee engagement ideas will help you better connect with your employees.

If I told you there was a magic number and if you aligned your behavior with that number you would have better relationships, create more highly engaged teams, and be a more effective leader, would you do it? Well, it turns out there is such a number and the number is four or five to one. Using these numbers is just one of many great employee engagement ideas.

Employee Engagement Ideas

Over the last decade studies conducted by Dr. Gottman and others in the field of positive psychology at places like the University of Michigan and Harvard about employee engagement ideas have shown that leaders that use a four or five to one positive to negative comment ratio create high engagement. (Not to mention the likelihood of preventing divorce.)

Employee engage thyself download

The number is not just about praise or recognition (though that is part of it), but more about whether you are perceived as a “positive person.” It turns out that simply being a positive person who is seen as focusing on what is working vs. what is NOT working, makes people want to be around you and more willing to work hard for you. This may help explain why being perceived a being “enthusiastic” about your subject is the best predictor for an admired teacher.

The Truth of Employee Engagement

Sadly, some research suggests that the actual ratio in many workplaces and relationships is often more negative than positive—the opposite of what is required for employee engagement and solid relationships. When I asked a group of senior leaders at a Fortune 50 client this last week why that might be so, the head of the division of 13,000 people nailed it. She said, “we get so busy that we manage by exception, we don’t take the time to notice what is working.”

You see it is not our intention not to be positive or to be critical of others. Rather, we get so focused on managing the exceptions that we only take the time to either be critical or to make a comment when things turn out less than desired. When times get tough in an organization this can become an even bigger problem because we actually have to celebrate even more, so that people keep feeling like they are part of a winning team.

Shifting the Employee Engagement Focus

I work with some companies that are having great results, but if you listen to what they say in meetings it is all about what they have NOT accomplished. No wonder people get discouraged.

So what is your number? If I followed you around at work with a clicker in my right and left hand, how many positive comments would occur for every negative one? And then if I followed you home, would the positive to negative ratio get even better or get worse? Some research shows we tend to be even more negative at home than at work.

There is a magic number and living that number just might make you a better leader, a more admired colleague and lead to a happy marriage.


Dr. John Izzo has spoken to over one million people, advised over 500 companies, authored nine best-selling books, and helped some of the world's most admired companies. He has been a pioneer in creating successful businesses and emerging work trends for over twenty-five years.

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