Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Employee Engagement Leads to Working Harder and Caring More

Five Steps to Achieve Employee Fulfillment

Aristotle said, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

This could have been the beginning of what we now call employee engagement.  That was a long time ago – over 2,300 years ago!

So, let’s break this simple quotation down.  Just nine words long, and yet it is very powerful.  Here are five simple steps that ultimately lead to happy, fulfilled, and engaged employees:

  1. Hire the right person for the right job. Pleasure in the job begins when the employer hires the right employee for the job.  For example, you probably shouldn’t hire an introverted personality to do an outside sales job – and vice-versa.
  2.  Create fulfilled employees – Part One.  While you may make the right hire, the employee has to love what they do.  So, it’s more than the right personality.  It’s that the employee also loves what they do.
  3.  Create fulfilled employees – Part Two.  Even if the employees love what they do, that doesn’t mean they will love working for you or your company.  Be sure the environment is positive and the leadership shows appreciation.  Appreciation is so very important in employee fulfillment. This is what takes the fulfilled employee to the next level.  They love what they do and they love working for you.  That’s a winning combination.
  4.  The pursuit of perfection.  The word perfection is a metaphor for a goal.  Putting perfection in the work does not necessarily mean making the work perfect, although that would be nice.  It’s actually the effort of trying to be perfect – or hitting a goal.  While the goal could be perfection, it may also mean hitting a sales number – or any other measurable goal.  Put a good person in the right job, make him or her feel great about their work, and have a goal that gives the employee a sense of accomplishment.
  5.  Employee Engagement.  This isn’t so much a step as it is the result of hiring the right person, who loves the job that they have been hired to do, and is appreciated for their efforts and talents.  Engaged employees work harder, care more about the company, the people they work with and ultimately care more about the customer.

Employee engagement, even if it has been called something else, has been relevant for literally thousands of years.  And, thousands of years from now, it will still be relevant.  People who are fulfilled and find pleasure in their work will strive for perfection.  They will strive to meet and exceed their goals.  To paraphrase Aristotle: Their fulfillment of the work will put perfection into the work.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

  1. These days, most companies are pretty staffed up, so hiring new people is not the solution for today. AND, the research shows that new employees are pretty much like the old employees after 6 months (Sirota) and that if you do not start things up differently with new hires, they will not give you what you want down the road.

    Perfection is a lot like Excellence, if I read you right. I liked that old concept a LOT and there used to be dozens of good programs using that anchor point. Six SIgma seems to be today’s buzzword for it, but it really only occurs in manufacturing and production and not so much in areas where people have to respond differently so much, like customer service or other kinds of personalized work.

    For me, I reframe what you said around two basic ideas:

    1 – “Nobody ever washes a rental car” — It’s my quote on the importance of ownership to performance. If people feel a sense of active ownership and involvement, they will treat things differently. Ownership is a key issue in excellence and striving to improve.

    2 – Dis-Un-Engagement — in any workplace, stats show that more than half the people are un-engaged and un-involved. Somewhat related to ownership, what managers can choose to do is to identify the things that are un-engaging – list them in a brainstorming session – and then look for ways to address each and every one of them, one at a time.

    You can form teams, share best practices, escalate issues to other departments (yeah, I do know that “interdepartmental collaboration” tends to be an oxymoron for most organizations (or silos) but they can be addressed (The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is one exercise that focuses neatly on this issue and rewards those who collaborate).

    It is always the case that, “The Round Wheels are already in the wagon” and that there is little excuse for continuing to operate on the Square Wheels. The best performers are already doing things differently than the worst performers, so sharing those best practices is a no-brainer way to improve things. When you can build that around your roadblock management, you are improving teamwork, improving skills and performance, and enabling more intrinsic motivation.

    Ya think?


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