Balakarthik Venkataramanan
February 14, 2017

Driving your employee engagement. What do you think?

Screenshot 2017-02-14 21.41.52.pngA decade after the dot com bubble burst and just a little while after the announcement of Lehman Brother’s collapse, the employee behavior research groups started getting traction and recognition from corporate America on the impact the dis-engaged workforce had on the overall organization and the industry as a whole. The mood was to move away from the conventional “How do we keep the employees satisfied?” to “How do we keep the employees engaged?”. And of course, it’s common sense that an engaged workforce is the pillar for any organization’s success.

For starters, if you are wondering..what is the difference between ‘Satisfaction’ & ‘Engagement’:


A few years back, I had an opportunity to be a part of the core team that was involved in implementing a large scale employee engagement initiative. We partnered with Gallup who have set an excellent standard for employee engagement improvement through the Q12 framework

(Gallup’s Q12 Employee engagement framework details

It was an extensive framework with a structured survey methodology, I was thrilled with the amount of insight the framework provided and specific areas of opportunities that it pointed out as gaps of engagement in the organization for leadership to address.

But at the end of the day, it’s your individual people manager’s ability to drive her/his direct team’s engagement on a day to day basis which has the highest impact on any employee’s engagement level. My struggle for a long time has been to articulate where should a manager/leader start their engagement journey with their team. I could coach the managers/leaders on the overall engagement strategy, the impact and the need but helping them get a quick and effective starting point was a challenge. The “AHA” moment that helped me overcome that struggle was a couple of years back when I came across a snippet on “What are the four most important words for a leader?” at

The four most important words as quoted by Dave Wheeler at are:

whatthinkcartoon“What do you think?”

When you sit back and think about it, WOW!! It is such a powerful question. Just four words but the meaning and the interpretation for an employee coming from a leader can be very deep. What is the underlying message that is being sent behind these four words? What does this question mean to an employee, coming from a leader? How does an employee interpret these 4 words?  What message is a leader trying to send by asking this question to their employees?

It’s amazing that 4 simple words can send such a powerful message. Below is just a high level list of the different engaging interpretations of these 4 words and the list is not complete.

  1. “I value your opinion”
  2. “It’s not about me but it’s about us”
  3. “I don’t have all the answers, we have to figure it out together”
  4. “We are peers in problem solving”
  5. “You are a part of the problem solving and not just an executor of my ideas”
  6. “I want to hear your ideas”
  7. “You are an integral part of my team”
  8. “You have a voice in decisions that impact your work”
  9. “You are empowered”
  10. “Your ideas count”

Personally, this has transformed the way I engage my peers, stakeholders and above all my employees. Forcing a habit to use these 4 words in every single interaction (literally) with your team, peers & stakeholders will enable you to establish empowerment and engagement at the core of your leadership style.

In the journey of employee engagement in organizations nothing is more powerful than these 4 words and the difference it can bring to you, your team and your organization. Try it out!

So, “What do you think?”

Download the most comprehensive OpEx Resport in the Industry

The Largest Leadership-Level Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Event

The Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards

Welcome to BTOES Insights, the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news.
AWARD 2019-1
Copy of Copy of btoes19
Subscribe to Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Insights Now
Copy of Copy of btoes19 (1)

Featured Content

  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Technology & Communications: IBM
  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities: Black & Veatch
  • Best Achievement in Cultural Transformation to deliver a high performing Operational Excellence culture: NextEra Energy
Operational Excellence Frameworks and Learning Resources, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation and more introductions
  • Intelligent BPM Systems: Impact & Opportunity
  • Surviving_the_IT_Talent_deficit.png
  • Six Sigma's Best Kept Secret: Motorola & The Malcolm Baldrige Awards
  • The Value-Switch for Digitalization Initiatives: Business Process Management
  • Process of Process Management: Strategy Execution in a Digital World

Popular Tags

Operational Excellence Business Transformation Business Improvement Business Excellence Process Management Continuous Improvement Process Optimization process excellence Leadership Process Improvement Premium Execution Excellence Change Management Enterprise Excellence Lean Enterprise Lean Lean Six Sigma BTOES18 Organizational Excellence Culture Transformation Capability Excellence Changing & Improving Company Culture Healthcare and Medical Devices Digital Transformation New Technologies Execution & Sustaining OpEx Projects end-to-end Business Transformation Agile Leadership Understanding & Buy-In Lack of/Need for Resources Adapting to Business Trends Changing Customer Demands Culture Failure to Innovate Integrating CI Methodologies Lack of/Need for Skilled Workers Lack of/Need for Support from Employees Maintaining key Priorities Relationships Between Departments BTOES HEALTH BTOES Video Presentations Customer Experience Exclusive Technology Process Automation Strategy Execution Innovation Manufacturing Report BPM Lean Manufacturing Agility Systems Engineering Process Design Awards BTOES Presentation Slides Healthcare thought leaders Insurance Robotic Process Automation Data Analytics Banking and Capital Markets Professional Services White Paper BTOES19 Consumer Products & Retail Customer Experience Excellence Operational Excellence Model Project Management value creation Automotive and Transportation data management innovation execution Artificial Intelligence digital operations Interview Operational Excellence Example Digital business expansion revenue growth Data Frameworks Learning organization Primary Measure of succes Six Sigma Workplace Analytics transformation journey BTOES17 Business Growth Communication HealthcareTechnologies Human Centered Design Innovation in Healthcare Kaizen Lean Culture NPS Net Promoter Score Oil and Gas Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Telecommunications Text Mining business process automation eHealth investment banking text analytics Announcement BTOES18 Award Winners BTOES18 Awards Client Feedback Strategy Communications Denial Management Education Hoshin Planning Hospitality & Construction Infographic Integrated Decision Approach Integrated Decision Making Jidoka Learning Resource Oil & Gas Recruitment Supply Chain Management Team The FAST lane master virtual resource management