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Learn 12 Secrets to Becoming a Thought Leader

Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am.

(Reading Time: 5 Minutes)

David Zinger Cartoon Smaller Version

Learn how to be a thought leader from David Zinger’s employee engagement thought leadership. Do you want to be a thought leader? This post outlines a quirky 12 step process to thought leadership.

What’s in a name? I have been referred to as a thought leader in employee engagement and was conferred engagement Guru status by the UK’s Engage for Success movement. I never knew that a business and workplace movement in the UK could confer guru status. I believe that if you think you are a thought leader or a guru in all likelihood you are neither of these things. I don’t think I am a thought leader, just a fifty-nine year old guy living on the Canadian prairies in Winnipeg who developed an abiding passion for the various permutations and combinations of engagement in leadership, management, work, and living.

Here are 12 idiosyncratic steps if you are interested in being thought of as a though leader:

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

Develop a mild to medium obsession with a topic.  I admit that I am obsessed with engagement and what it means. I can’t resist reading a book or blog about engagement. I check tweets on engagement about five times a day. I think about engagement all the time.  Psychologists suggest we have about two thousand 14-second daydreams each day. A fair number of my daydreams involve engagement.

Be willing to go anywhere to learn about your specialty. I have gone from military bases in Winnipeg to distilleries in Manitoba to learn about engagement. I have walked the tunnels of uranium mines in Northern Saskatchewan and spent time scurrying though a platinum smelter in South Africa in search of engagement. I got a real buzz of engagement by using computers over three summers to interact with honeybees in their hives to learn about social engagement. If you want to buzz off for a few moments click on the title of my free eBook: Waggle: 39 Ways to Improve Human Organizations, Work, and Engagement. Thought leaders need to go anywhere to learn from anyone (even another species) about engagement.

Your best thoughts always begin with ignorance. Everything I have learned about engagement has come from my ignorance. To me, ignorance simply means not knowing. Stupidity is thinking you know when you don’t. It is okay to be ignorant just don’t be stupid about it. Just because we start with ignorance doesn’t mean that we stay there.

You are only half right but don’t let your brains fall out. I believe that half of what I say is right on, evidence-based, and state of the art while half of what I say is wrong. The conundrum  is that I don’t know the difference. Concepts, ideas, and practices need to be played out and what works for one person, team, or organization may not work for another. Jacob Needleman, the philosopher offered the following advice, “it’s good to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.”

It is more important to write than be right.  E. M. Forester once wrote, “how do I know what I think until I see what I write.” Writing has proven to be a good way to think. I have written over 2500 blog posts, 3 books, and 10000 tweets. I read to learn but I also write to learn. A thought leader can seldom go wrong by writing.

You can think on our own but you are never alone. Thought leadership does not exist in isolation or a vacuum. I founded and host a 6100 member community on employee engagement.  I have devoted countless hours over the past 6 years to this community and it has been worth every second. We are now firmly embedded in the era of social thinking supplanting solo thinking.

You can never know enough, or retain enough, to stop being a student. I am enthralled by learning and learn from everyone I encounter. I default on being a student. I study rather than read. Currently, I am studying, Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice. I can’t help myself as I make notes and draw little diagrams in the margin, I argue with certain statements and put giant check marks beside other statement, and the white pages of the book are streaked with contrails of yellow highlighter.

the Pyramid Model of Employee Engagement Square

Build a pyramid so that your thoughts will outlast you. I never intended to build a pyramid but I ended up building a 10 block pyramid of  engagement. I am a visual thinker and created images for the key elements of engagement. Before I knew it the blocks took the shape of a pyramid. Partially as a tribute to the great UCLA’s basketball coach John Wooden’s pyramid of success and partially because the pyramid structure created a strong, almost intuitive, visual representation of the tactical and practical requirements of full engagement. It may be premature to declare this but I believe the pyramid of engagement may be my magnum opus, or it could be the manifestation of regression to when I was three years old and  totally engaged in playing with wooden alphabet blocks.

Embrace contradictions and change your mind.  My mind has been changed often in engagement. I have more questions than answers. My thoughts lead me more than I lead my thoughts. I have always loved the line by Walt Whitman at the start of these 12 steps: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

To find enlightenment be a lamp. A much wiser one than I, the  Buddha, said “be a lamp unto yourself.” We must shine a light on own thinking and approaches. We can go around the globe in search of engagement and fail to realize that it resides in our own hands, head, and heart.

Waggle while you work. My honeybees taught me to waggle. Waggles are their dance-like movements to communicate with their community about sources of pollen and even the location of a new home. I trust my thoughts will help others find and nourish their own engagement work. I place countless links in my tweets and updates on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds.

Think, pray, laugh. I have kept everything in perspective by following the Chinese beatitude: Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, they shall never cease to be entertained. I also maintain my serenity with the modified serenity prayer I learned about 30 years ago: God grant me the laughter to see the past with perspective, face the future with hope, and celebrate today without taking myself too seriously. Thought leaders who laugh, last. Enjoy Assorted Zingers: Poems and Cartoons to Take a Bite Out of Work.

Alfred Adler was a thought leader for psychological thinking. He didn’t follow Sigmund Freud’s path or someone else’s path, he created his own. Supposedly after presenting his latest theories and thinking on psychology in front of very large audiences he would conclude his presentation with this statement of heartfelt uncertainty, “things could also be quite otherwise.” As we journey forward in engagement towards 2020, let’s never forget that, things could also be quite otherwise.

The map is not the territory. ~ Alfred Korzybski

David Zinger Employee Engagement Speaker

David Zinger has been led around by his thoughts on employee engagement for the past 7 years. He is an employee engagement speaker from the Canadian prairies who believes we must be on the same level with everyone else and that pyramids are for blocks not for people.

David Zinger’s 1500 Blog Posts on Employee Engagement (eBook)

Everything you always wanted to know about employee engagement but were afraid to ask

Eh List Cover

Here is an eBook listing all the posts I have written on employee engagement. If you open the eBook in your browser you can click on any title and it will take you right to the post.  If you had  a weekly newsletter on engagement where you work you could use a new post every week for 30 years!

To begin reading click on the cover above or click here.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who loves to write about employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Saskatchewan Style

Coming back to Saskatchewan

(Reading and viewing time = 2 minutes, 30 seconds)

Flag of Saskatchewan

I look forward to returning home to Saskatchewan near the end of April to conduct two sessions on engagement  in both Regina and Saskatoon. There is a lunch session on employee engagement and an afternoon session on engaged well being. I am doing this in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Association of Human Resource Professionals (SAHRP). I will be in Regina on Monday April 28th  and Saskatoon on Tuesday April 29th. Here is a 1 minute 42 second invite/introduction to what we will focus on. I look forward to you joining me.

David Zinger Engage SK from David Zinger on Vimeo.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who was born in Regina, lived in Saskatoon, and never stopped being a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan.

Employee Engagement is Not About Great or Amazing Work or Workplaces

Have a ball at work by doing good work well with others every day.

(Reading time: Under 1 minute)

The Ball of Employee Engagement

I have sharpened my focus on engagement in 2014 to: Good work done well with others every day. I believe this is both attainable and sustainable while also being a big challenge. What I too often see is the cheerleaders of engagement trying to lead us on to great and amazing work and workplaces. Seldom do I find a great place to work being great for everyone. And even though I have occasional amazing days at work what is truly amazing to me is that I have hundreds of good days. Don’t get me wrong. I love great and amazing work. It thrills me when I see it or experience it myself. Yet I think that great and amazing work is the occasional byproduct of good work done well with others every day. I would trade 1 great day for 10 good days anytime! I don’t need hype or hyperbole when I work, I just need to know my work is good, that I am well because of it, and I can sustain it day after day.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker, expert, and consultant committed to making engagement both simple and real.

The 8 Word Definition of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement in 8 words.

(Reading time: 9 seconds)

David Zinger Engage

Good work, done well, with others, every day.

David Zinger is an employee engagement expert striving for lean, simple, and significant approaches to employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Through People Artistry

A People Artistry Tidbit

(Reading time: 50 seconds )

Peoplt Artistry at Work Book Cover

I had a wonderful conversation with the latest reader of People Artistry at Work. He just retired this year as the Assistant Superintendent of a very large school division. He believed the book was a fine leadership book and that it summed up his approach to successful leadership.

He stated, “it is amazing what we can accomplish and achieve together when we recognize and value people even if they initially lack skills.” Through our people artistry we empower, we build capacity and as leaders we never lose sight of the fact that we are only as good as the people we lead. We need to recognize all employees so they recognize their own strengths, gifts, challenges, and contributions.

To learn more about this $10 book or to order people artistry for all you leaders visit: www.peopleartistry.com.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert.

Making the real definition of employee engagement more real

Making it real

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Real Zing Box

When I wrote the original definition of real employee engagement, I was wrong. I usually am wrong about 50% of the time but being wrong promotes learning and revisions so being open to being wrong feels quite right to me.

I recently wrote the real definition of employee engagement:

Good work, done well, with others, on a daily basis.

I loved the down-to-earth elegant simplicity of the definition but I forgot something. Supposedly Albert Einstein said, make things as simple as possible but no simpler. I think I was too simple with the first definition. I had neglected the first principle of my 10 principles of engagement, first composed in January of 2008 and revised  in 2010. The first principle stated:

Employee engagement is specific. We cannot sustain engagement all the time and everywhere. When we talk about engagement we need to ask: Who is engaged, with what,  for how long, and for what purpose?

I now believe the new real definition of employee engagement must add:

Good work, done well, with others, on a daily basis to …

You need to complete the “to …” What result is it that you seek from engagement? This could range from safety and wellbeing to profits, cost reductions, or lean processes. Ensure your engagement work has a direction.

For example, I was working with a group on employee engagement and customer experience. As I thought about the real definition of engagement for their purposes, I added:

Good work, done well, with others, on a daily basis to enrich the customer and employee experience.

This definition offered focus and direction to engagement and offered a specific purpose to the engagement work.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert on his way to a better way of working with work.

A review of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

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I enjoyed Greg McKeown’s new book on Essentialism.  To be effective with the small, simple, significant, and sustainable approach to employee engagement we must focus our efforts and time on the essentials.

McKeown had a lot of fine points including the discernment and the unimportance of practically everything. His four E’s of essentialism encompass: essence, explore, eliminate, and execute. The essentialist start small and gets big results while celebrating small acts of progress. Are you doing that with your employee engagement programs and initiatives?

Here is a quotation from the book on only doing what is essential:

Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.

My quibble with this book on essentialism was the length of about 250 pages. I believe our books on engagement need to be more essential while also being briefer. I encourage you to read the book but only focus on the essential sections!

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who encourages all of us involved in employee engagement to be more essential in how we focus on engagement and how we work.

Is Employee Engagement a Threat or a Thread?

Are we creating iatrogenic disengagement?

(Reading time 1 minute, 20 seconds)


Employee engagement may threaten the established ways of working when we fully engage employees and stop stifling  voice, identity, and innovation. I believe the fresher ways of working produce both fear and threat for many leaders and managers. I think conducting anonymous surveys suggest that engagement is seen as a threat in the organization. I have always believed that disengagement should not be a punishable offense but rather a trigger for a conversation about work. How can it trigger a conversation if we don’t know who is saying what?  If leaders and managers really don’t know who is saying what and have to rely on a survey to get some aggregate data I think they need to be more engaged with employees.

It seems to me engagement must be threatening if the only way we believe employees will tell us the truth is if we make their responses anonymous – - – yet being anonymous inside an organization is certainly one of the contributors to feeling disengaged from the organization.  In medicine this is termed iatrogenesis – the illness is caused by the treatment. I think in many circumstance, our anonymous surveys are causing iatrogenic disengagement.

Engagement can be a thread that sews work, management, and leadership together. It changes how we work as we operate more from invitation, connection, conversation, trust, value-congruence, etc. So let’s take the thread of engagement and use it to stitch together the open wounds of threat in our organizations and work together so work will work for everyone. If we do this, I sincerely believe work can be healing and make us well.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who firmly believe that for work to be sustainable it must make us well.

Watch the Watch: A Big Disruption in Employee Engagement?

Stop telling time and start telling engagement: Employee Engagement can change in a minute.

(Reading and viewing time 4 minutes and 15 seconds)

Engage the Revolution no click

As you watch your watch will your watch be watching you?

Employee engagement is moving to real time very rapidly. The antiquated idea of an annual, or heaven forbid a bi-annual, survey of employee engagement it becoming ludicrous. We need real time measures that also offer transparency while giving the most important person data on their engagement — the employee!

We all know our engagement probably changes from about six to sixty times a day. So how can we enter the stream of engagement as opposed to using an auger of measurement drilling into a frozen bi-annual survey of attitudes? I just watched the short video on android watches and believe this is the future of engagement at many levels (it may be an apple watch too).

With the new watches hitting the market combined with our needs and some programming, we can monitor engagement, we can connect, and we can use the watch to trigger engaging actions. The limiting factor of how this tool could be used for engagement may be our own limited thinking.

Get ready for a watch that can tell time but can also tell energy and engagement and connection. It is also a watch that will listen to us!

A few years back I predicted this would occur by 2020. I was far too conservative. This will occur during 2014 and be refined and in full usage with a number of individuals and some organizations by 2015.

So go ahead and watch this watch video and start thinking about how you could use this tool at work for engagement and get busy with your IT department to help your organization go mobile with engagement and really be fully engaged in 2020!

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who has always worn a watch and he is now looking for a watch that he can engage with while also being a watch that will engage him.

The Real Definition of Employee Engagement

Let make it simple!

(Reading time 16 seconds)

Real Zing Box

We have too much jargon at work in employee engagement. So here is my real definition of employee engagement:

Good work, done well, with others, on a daily basis.

Enough said.

David Zinger is a leading employee engagement speaker and expert who strives to make employee engagement real.

People Artistry at Work Begins to Make Its Way Around the World

My friends at Deed send out a tweet and picture of People Artistry at Work:

People Artistry at Work: The Ennoblement Imperative

New Book: People Artistry at Work: The Ennoblement Imperative (50 pages)

Peoplt Artistry at Work Book Cover

We are not advocating for the nobility of entitlement or title but rather the nobility of people working together with a deepening of the authentic artistry that is possible in all work and relationships. ~ The opening line from People Artistry at Work: The Ennoblement Imperative  by Peter W. Hart and David Zinger

I am pleased to offer you this slim and  beautiful 50 page high quality book to improve recognition and engagement where you work. The book is printed on high quality glossy paper and is rich with beautiful illustrations. Yet, the true beauty of this book is to draw our your People Artistry at work to bring out the best in your people and your organization. Most readers have already requested bulk orders to get everyone in their organization on the same page with recognition and engagement!

People Artistry was co-authored with Peter W. Hart from Rideau Recognition and the paintings we used to illustrate the book are all originals from Peter.

Here are the 10 practices from the book:

  1. Gift
  2. See
  3. Inspire
  4. Give
  5. Dance
  6. Ensure
  7. Evolve
  8. Learn
  9. Capture
  10. Practice

To open a one page PDF owner’s guide for the book click on the following link: People Artistry an Owner’s Guide.

Early readers told us this is more than a book on recognition and engagement, it is a gift. They went beyond reading the book to buying copies for other leaders, managers, supervisors, and employees at work. It is a tremendous value at $9.95 and includes a beautiful envelope if we mail it to you or if you want to give it to others as a gift. If you order multiple copies we will send you multiple envelopes, just ensure you email me directly for bulk orders.

Chris Bailey sent us a picture when he received the book a few weeks ago saying “It’s cold outside but this book is warming my soul. Love it. Thanks David Zinger.” He added “As soon as I start at my next organization, I’m buying copies for all my staff.”

People Artistry Comment from Chris Bailey

For more information or to order multiple copies as a gift of recognition where you workContact David Zinger at david@davidzinger.com.

The price is in Canadian dollars and includes all shipping, handling, and taxes (ensure you use the arrow on the PayPal price link below to get the right price category for your location:

  • Canada  $16.00
  • United States $18.00
  • International $20.00


400 Cartoons on Employee Engagement

Cartoonist, digital designer, and friend, John Junson, has completed four hundred cartoons on employee engagement on the 6300 member Employee Engagement Network. He literally adds a huge burst of color to work and engagement. John just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for showing us the lighter side of work John!

Today At Work 400

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who founded and hosts the 6200 member Employee Engagement Network.

Enhancing Employee Engagement Recognition – People Artistry: The Ennoblement Imperative

People Artistry at Work: The Ennoblement Imperative will be released on March 11th.

People Artistry Book Cover

I am excited by next week’s release of People Artistry at Work: The Ennoblement Imperative. Peter Hart from Rideau in Montreal and I wrote this book and Peter’s art contributes to this being a beautiful little book. This is my third book and I know this small little gem will enhance your ability to draw the best out from others at work.

We offer you 10 practices and 8 tools and if you order the book from myself or bulk order the book from Rideau it will arrive in a beautiful custom envelope. We have had some early readers of the book and were amazed that almost every one of them upon reading decided to buy a copy for all the leaders and managers where they work.

They loved the size and the price of just $9.95! They also told us the book was more than a book, it was a gift. Watch for the formal launch on March 11th.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and employee engagement expert dedicated to improving engagement for all.

Employee Engagement: How to use gamification to climb Mount Everest (almost).

Being game for work and wellbeing

(Reading time 4 minutes and 30 seconds)

Year of Points button

I have themed 2014 as a year of points. I am further extending my work on using the principles and practices of gamification for work and wellbeing. In a future post, I will provide an update of the daily game board I use to plan and track my time and performance to enhance  work and wellbeing.

For this post I want to outline a three week gamification of fitness. The Winnipeg Winter Club where I workout has a mean looking machine called Jacob’s Ladder. It is like a 40 degree angled treadmill with the tread being replaced by ladder rungs. It is exhausting and you feel a bit like Sisyphus as you climb a ladder and get nowhere, but it is a great workout. The first time I tried the ladder back in January I could only do a couple of minutes before being fatigued.

For the month of February my fitness club challenged members to climb 29, 029 feet, or the equivalent of the elevation of Mount Everest on Jacob’s Ladder. I decided this was a game, even at fifty-nine years of age, I wanted to play. I knew to be successful I needed to gamify the process and was ultimately successful in taking just twenty days from the time I started to making it to the summit.

Here was how I approached the task based on gamification ideas and practices:

Compelling narrative. I was not climbing a ladder I was participating in an adventure to get to the top of Everest. A strong compelling narrative often keeps people glued to a movie or a game. In this case, I kept imaging I was getting to the top of Everest. I wasn’t delusional but it made climbing the steps more fun.

Mount Everest

Being social. I didn’t climb with someone else but my daughter, Katharine, was my fitness buddy in another challenge at the club. Her support and knowing I was scoring points for us as a team was very helpful. I used almost daily updates on social media to report on my progress to make myself accountable to people who follow me and to gather energy and encouragement from their support. And of course, I kept broadcasting my success to my wife and sons.

Making progress. Progress is engaging while setback are disengaging. I did not wait until I arrived at the “summit” to celebrate. I printed out a Wikipedia list of all the mountain peaks around the world so I had the progress of reaching the elevation of over 1000 peaks along the way. Also I scored 10 points for a bigger fitness competition each day I completed ten or more minutes on the ladder.

Meaningful. This game was meaningful to me. For gamification to work and be sustainable the game must be meaningful to the player. Virtually climbing Mount Everest would not be either compelling or meaningful to many people but as someone who lived their whole life on the prairies it had always been a whimsical desire to climb the world’s tallest peak. Given everything else in my life this was about as close as I was going to get to achieving that desire.

Novelty. From one perspective I was just climbing a ladder to nowhere and that can be very fatiguing and boring. I enhanced novelty in the game by working at different paces and with different lengths of climbing. One day I climbed for 28 minutes and covered 1816 feet — this climb was the equivalent of climbing the CN Tower in Toronto (it must have been a foggy day as the view on Jacob’s Ladder never seemed to actually change).

Keeping track. I used a notebook to keep track of time, steps, and speed. Monitoring the climb with the different numbers derived was motivating while keeping me on track and preventing a fitness goal derailment.

Celebrate. I did celebrate success of the goal achieved by opening a small bottle of bubbly champagne and toasting the feat with Jeff, the fitness director, in a couple of small paper cone cups. We should always make time to celebrate progress as this helps to mentally install all the benefits of our accomplishments.

Benefits beyond the game. I like games that are immersions rather than diversions. By this I mean the game has real world benefits and is not merely a distraction from work and life. This game increased my fitness, helped me shed about 10 pounds, and feel more energized each day.

The game as a booster rather than an end in itself. Sometimes the trouble with gamification is that it begins to lose its impact over time. Now that I was successful will this mean I stop using the ladder and let my fitness entropy to previous levels. To overcome this I am now planning to climb the equivalent of the 7 summits of the world over the next year. It won’t be as intensive as the last month but it will make the progress and fitness sustainable over a long period of time. As we begin to approach the end of a helpful and positive gamification of work or wellbeing it is quite helpful to ask ourselves: what come’s next? Just because the game ended doesn’t mean the practice and benefits should also end.

Are you game? How can you integrate the practices outline above into your own work and wellbeing to foster greater engagement in achieving a result that matters to you or your work group?

Many small steps are one giant step. In summary it was 29,029 small steps for David and one giant step for the application of gamification to better work and wellbeing.

David Zinger Employee Engagement Speaker

David Zinger is a Canadian employee engagement speaker and expert who believes in the benefits of gamification as a powerful tool for greater engagement.

Employee Engagement Resides in the White Space of Work

Engage employees by encouraging them to enter the white space of work

(Reading time = 1 minute, 15 seconds)

Enter the White Space of Work  

The white space on a page is the part of the page without print or images. The white space in an organization is the part without specifically designed tasks, performance, and work.

There is tremendous potential, value, and innovation that resides in the white space of work. Learn to engage employees with the white space, edges, and margins of work by asking rather than telling. Believe in your employee’s motivation and ability to determine what needs to be done and how they can go about doing it. Promote autonomy aligned with your strategic imperative.

Invite employees to voice and contribute and to frame and solve organizational challenges. For example, if you have a challenge with poor quality service ask each employee to use 5 minutes this week to assess the poor quality service and to quickly move from rumination about it to taking one small action to improve quality. Encourage employees to share what worked and examine how their actions in the white space of work can be scaled for greater use by all within the organization.

The blank white space in organizations invites voice, participation, innovation, and engagement. Shift your perspective at work and attune to the white space that resides in all tasks and organizations.

David Zinger, from Canada, is an employee engagement speaker and expert.

Download a List of Over 500 Employee Engagement Videos

Over the past 6 years we have been posting videos that relate to employee engagement on the Employee Engagement Network.

Employee Engagement Videos

We now have over 500 curated videos. There are so many ways you can use these videos, including:

  • Kickoff an engagement effort
  • Build your team
  • Stimulate new ideas or practices for engagement
  • Inspire you to create an engaging video
  • Start you day with an engaging video clip
  • As part of a training or education day
  • Circulate to coworkers
  • Recover from a setback at work
  • Education your teenager about work
  • Engage yourself more fully

Click on the cover above or on this line to download a clickable free list of all these great videos.

David Zinger is a Canadian employee engagement educator and speaker.

Are You Preventing the Mismeasure of Employee Engagement?

We can manage engagement without measuring it

(Reading Time = 1 minute and 30 seconds)

Survey says

There is an old hackneyed expression that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Baloney. We can manage what we don’t measure. For instance. I can manage my weight and health without measuring it. I don’t have to keep stepping on a weight scale and doing a bunch of well-being assessment questionnaires to determine my weight and health. In fact, I can step on a weight scale every day and keep gaining weight. Before you think that I am drifting off into some intuitive wonderland where we just know because, well, we know, I am not opposed to measurement. I am opposed to an over reliance and preponderance of measurement in engagement.

If we limit our questions to between five and twelve and have employees complete a survey then maximize our intervention and then measure again to see if there was a change this may be all the measurement we need. We might also prevent the annual engagement survey becoming such a disengaging exercise for many employees. An old principle of evaluation is that you should choose evaluation based on the purposes to be served — don’t let your evaluation start to serve its own self-generating purposes.

Many organizations are fixated on the biannual employee survey fused with external bench marking. At worst, they spend more of their dollars and time allocated for engagement on the numbers and measures than the very people they want to be more engaged.

How much of your employee engagement budget is devoted to a survey and analysis. If I had $100 for each employee to improve employee engagement I would want to spend no more than 3% and hopefully just 1% on measurement and the rest would be spent on things that actually improve engagement such as training, education, career development, working conditions and tools, and fully engaging management and leadership in making things better for all.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and educator. Contact and contract with David Zinger to improve engagement where you work.



Eugenie Bouchard: What a 19 Year Old Rising Tennis Star Can Teach Us About Employee Engagement

7 Lessons on Employee Engagement from a Teenage Tennis Player

(Reading time 1 minute 20 seconds)

Eugenie Bouchard (source Wikipedia - Edwin Martinez

Eugenie Bouchard (source Wikipedia – Edwin Martinez

As a Canadian in Winnipeg with the temperature at 42 below, I have caught tennis fever and have enjoyed watching 19 year old Canadian, Eugenie Bouchard, compete in the Australian Open. Her engaged and engaging play, landing her a spot in the semifinals, offers us lessons in engagement.

Here are the 7 engagement lessons I have derived by watching Eugenie play on the other side of the world:

  1. It is always good wherever you work to have a coach. Eugenie has been fortunate to have her coach make the trip with her. Never be afraid of getting lots of coaching to be the best you can be.
  2. Don’t give up, you can infuse inner mental toughness with outer physical composure as you just keep playing your game.
  3. Keep improving performance by making progress while also shaking off setbacks in seconds.
  4. Enjoy your work and embrace your opportunity to be on the center stage.
  5. Know that it takes years of work to become an overnight sensation and when the foundation is laid, expect your success and don’t be surprised by it.
  6. It is always nice to have the support of others (Genie’s army and the country of Canada) behind you, and enjoy and appreciate the love made tangible by the gift of Aussie plush animals they bestow upon you.
  7. At 19, it is okay to say you want to date Justin Bieber. Be poised and assured while never selling out on your youthful moments.

Pyramid Model of Employee Engagement

David Zinger is a Canadian employee engagement expert. He is enjoying the Australian open and honored that his pyramid of engagement has been used by the WTA (Woman’s Tennis Association) in their leadership work.