Research: Employee Engagement = Connections


This month Jason Pankau and I will be speaking to leaders at
NASA’s Johnson Space CenterJohnson & Johnson, the Internal Revenue Service and to church leaders at LifeSpring Network’s Conference on Connection Culture & Discipleship.

In recent presentations, we’ve emphasized the importance of research from The Conference Board that concluded after studying 30 definitions of employee engagement used by consulting firms, the best definition is as follows:

“Employee engagement is a heightened emotional and intellectual connection that an employee has for his/her job, organization, manager, or coworkers that, in turn, influences him/her to apply additional discretionary effort to his/her work.”

This definition is consistent with our research at E Pluribus Partners where we frequently heard respondents use the terms “connect” or “feel connected”  to describe the emotions they experience in relation to their organization’s identity, the people they work with and their day-to-day work.

In our book Fired Up or Burned Out and in The Connection Culture Manifesto, we identify and describe the “force of connection” as

“a bond based on shared identity, empathy and understanding that moves self-centered individuals toward group-centered membership.”

After defining connection, we identify the “Connection Culture” as an environment producing emotional and rational connections that, as The Conference Board’s definition says, “influences [people] to apply discretionary effort to [their] work.”

The Connection Culture meets universal human needs for respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth and meaning. When these needs are met, people thrive individually and collectively. The Connection Culture is ultimately grounded in character strengths and virtues.  Learn more by reading the manifesto or go even deeper by reading our book.  For the latest developments and examples about how to boost connection, stay tuned to blog posts here and consider following my tweets on

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