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As a kid I spent lots of time in the car with my mom. Two vivid memories: her (1) singing along to every Barry Manilow album ever made (yep – I still remember every word to Copacabana) and (2) throwing her arm across my chest any time she had to slam on the brakes. And I’d laugh at her endlessly, that poor human seatbelt.

Decades later, a mom myself, I make no excuses for the soundtrack of my childhood. But any parent reading this knows that human seatbelt thing is just hardwired.

Our purest instinct when faced with danger is to react and protect – against the saber-tooth tiger.

In the presence of real danger, this reaction serves us.

But not every moment of stress is a tiger.

And we’ve arrived at my point. Which is this: Too many leaders are reacting – instinctually – to this season of economic uncertainty as if it’s a tiger – with austerity measures – when they should be responding to it, thoughtfully, rationally, with an eye on the long-term.

New Gallup data tells us engagement in the US is at its lowest in nearly a decade. “Only 32% of U.S. employees overall were engaged in 2022.”


We’re cutting and containing costs to meet immediate financial goals. But we’re losing sight of the deeper impacts these cuts are having on our talent – the secret sauce of every business.

We’re losing engagement – and this carries hard costs. But these costs – of attrition (and eventually the cost of hiring and onboarding), of low motivation and creativity, of less care for and commitment to the customer experience…these costs don’t show up immediately. But they’re coming.

And our job is to turn this ship. And we can do it – simply and cost-effectively!

Here’s where I get real excited. You ready? OK – Gallup says there are 5 engagement elements that declined the most from 2019. And what’s crazy is how perfectly they map to the four pillars of our Employee Experience framework. Look for yourself.

And here are the 5 engagement elements to which Gallup is calling our attention:

  1. Connection to the mission or purpose of the company (CONNECT)
  2. Clarity of expectations (DELIVER)
  3. Opportunities to learn and grow (DEVELOP)
  4. Opportunities to do what employees do best (DELIVER)
  5. Feeling cared about at work (THRIVE)

So, reader. Here is my call-to-action to you today. Put on your “scrappy” hat – you know, the one you wear when you recognize the solution is totally within your control.

And ask yourself…what is ONE small thing I can do today to address one of these drivers? To clarify my expectations of my team. To enhance the feeling of purpose and connection? To make someone feel empowered and successful?

It can be as simple as giving one constructive piece of feedback; of asking a team member how they think a task on their plate links to your team’s purpose; or just checking in one someone who seems a little…checked out.

Every small act – chosen with intention – moves you one step closer to engagement.

Our Pulse Checks are designed to deliver you a custom and complete handbook – all the things your team needs from you, big and small.

We would love to be your guide.