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My company, like so many others, is very interested in the level of engagement among its associates. Measurements are taken by survey at least every other year, the results are pondered, and action plans are put in place to make us even better.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do know of an engagement measurement that has had amazing accuracy: Storytelling.

When folks tell me that they love their jobs, my first response is often, “That’s wonderful! Tell me about it!” Those who are truly engaged in what they are doing immediately launch into details. It is very seldom only a list of their projects. They enhance each item with an example of success or a glowing report of why it is just perfect for them.

It’s a great way to uncover insincerity, too. If I’m being told something that they think is the “correct” response that I want to hear, it very quickly becomes evident that the engagement level is low:

“I just love my job.”

“That’s wonderful. Tell me about it!”

“Well, I get to work with so many interesting people, and every day is a new challenge.”

“Really? Such as?”

If the sincerity level is low, this question is met with something akin to a “trapped” look and a fumbling for words. Yes, it happens this quickly.

People who are engaged often have so many stories to tell that it is difficult to find an end to them. While they are telling their stories, they are reliving the experience, and the pleasure behind that experience shows.

I’m also able to use this as a self-test. It is an equally effective review of my own engagement level. Sometimes, I surprise myself, such as when I’m under a tight deadline and nothing seems to be going right. My answer to “Tell me about it” doesn’t recall the problem…it heads unerringly to what is best about my job. It is still there, after all. It’s just temporarily buried under a layer of day-to-day cares.

Why not try it for yourself? You may be more engaged than you imagined!

Thank you for reading.