ENGAGEMENT MAGIC®: The 5 Keys of Employee Engagement

Engaged employees

What do employees need from a job to be engaged? 

Based on over two decades of research and a database of over 50 million employee survey responses related to the employee experience, we’ve identified five keys of employee engagement. We have grouped these under the acronym “MAGIC” to make them simple to remember:


Your work has purpose beyond the work itself. What I do must have some significance to me; it must mean something to me personally, and on more than just a surface level.  To me, my work is something of value, something of worth.  If I focus only on a paycheck, I am willing to put in as much work as is commensurate with the paycheck.  However, when my work has meaning to me, what I do has greater purpose.

Video: Examples of Meaning at Work


The power to shape your work and environment in ways that allow you to perform at your best.  Do I have the freedom and empowerment to perform my job in a way that I do best?  While Autonomy is not anarchy (we must still operate within acceptable boundaries), it does involve a degree of self-governance.  It allows me, as an individual, to create or shape my role and environment in a way that is best for me and for the organization.

Video: Examples of Autonomy at Work


Being stretched and challenged in ways that result in personal and professional growth. There was a time years ago when one could maintain a base set of skills or level of development, and that base could carry that individual throughout his or her career.  However, our internal speed of change and growth must match (or exceed) the external rate of change.  Particularly with rising generations, the ability to develop, grow, and progress in a job provides challenge and excitement that benefit not only the individual but also the company.

Video: Examples of Growth at Work


Seeing positive, effective, and worthwhile outcomes and results from your work.  Have you ever worked for an organization where employees give their all, only to face each fiscal quarter with a dismal report of their business performance?  The adage “nothing breeds success like success” holds true here.  When employees give their all, yet have little impact on the organization’s or team’s success, engagement is difficult to cultivate.  On the other hand, if what I am doing is making an impact (on the company, the world, students, patients, etc.), I am often willing to go through tough times if I hope to make an impact.  This is also where recognition and feedback fit in. I need to understand what kind of impact I am having; feedback from a customer, peer, boss, etc., will help me understand that level of impact.

Video: Examples of Impact at Work


The sense of belonging to something beyond yourself. This factor is clear throughout many of our employee engagement surveys.  Quite often, one of the highest-scoring questions on the engagement survey is related to a version of the following question: “I like the people I work with.”  Employees need to feel a connection to those around them.  Similarly, my connection to the organization—whether or not I feel a part of the organization—will often dictate my level of commitment.

Video: Examples of Connection at Work

Notice that the above “ENGAGEMENT MAGIC®” is not something tied to adding more expense. Employee engagement is not based on a transactional relationship. While both the employee and the employer have a role in engagement, it is not dependent upon a number of transactions; it involves discretionary effort—a choice—not an obligation or debt repayment.

So, next time your organization embarks on another “Employee Engagement initiative,” ask yourselves this question:  “Are we really addressing employee engagement, or just depositing more money into the employee satisfaction account?”

How much MAGIC do you have in your job?

Podcast: ENGAGEMENT MAGIC – A Framework for Managers to Engage Their Employees

ENGAGEMENT MAGIC - Managers Engage Their Employees

Today on the Engaging People Podcast, we talk about proven ways to educate your organization about employee engagement and how to empower managers to create an environment where employees will choose to engage.

The creators of the framework of ENGAGEMENT MAGIC®, Senior Consultant, Charles Rogel, and DecisionWise CEO, Dr. Tracy Maylett, share the origins of the model, the research behind the “MAGIC” acronym, and how to use these keys to lead change and transformation in your organization.

Employee Engagement eLEARNING

DecisionWise Announces the Global Launch of ENGAGEMENT MAGIC® Online Training Course

Woman using online ENGAGEMENT MAGIC training course

SPRINGVILLE, UTAH, USA – June 8, 2020 – DecisionWise, the global leader in employee experience consulting, announced the release of the ENGAGEMENT MAGIC® online training course. Based on research found in the award-winning book ENGAGEMENT MAGIC: Five Keys for Engaging People, Leaders, and Organizations, the ENGAGEMENT MAGIC online training provides managers and employees an in-depth understanding of the 5 MAGIC Keys (Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact, and Connection.) By offering this training, DecisionWise is enabling organizations to build a stronger employee experience by providing managers and employees insight into their ability to engage personally, as well as to engage others.

“This is another great step forward for DecisionWise,” said Tracy Maylett, Ed.D, CEO of DecisionWise. “Our research is clear that employee engagement is most influential at the team level, and the manager of that team has a significant impact on the engagement levels of the team. We have been successfully providing this world-class training in live workshop settings for several years, and now we are thrilled to offer it in an online format.”

As organizations mature from simply measuring engagement to understanding the overall employee experience, DecisionWise research confirms that conducting an annual census survey is not enough. The employee experience is improved not solely by gathering data, but by acting on the findings. While the senior team of an organization can provide organization-wide engagement initiatives, “engagement is local,” states Maylett, meaning the manager and the team are the most influential factors in creating an engaging work environment.

The DecisionWise ENGAGEMENT MAGIC online training focuses on the Employee Engagement MAGIC model: Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact, and Connection. While the online course provides a solid understanding of the keys to engagement, it also puts emphasis on the DecisionWise claim that ownership for engagement “is a 50/50 proposition.” This means that both the organization (and the manager), as well as the employee, have responsibility for creating an engaging environment. Further emphasis is placed on the notion that engagement doesn’t focus solely on employee happiness and well-being; it also involves employees creating action and getting results.

“We believe that engagement is both feeling and doing,” states Charles Rogel, DecisionWise Sr. Consultant and lead in the development of the online training program. “This course was designed to help employees take ownership for their own engagement and succeed in their careers. It challenges false perceptions about motivation to create a new, more fulfilling work experience”

While available for individual participants as well, the training is intended to be completed as a team with regular group discussions, facilitated by the manager. The team discussions drive unity and understanding, while enhancing the learning activities to have a greater impact on development and engagement.

The course is available immediately on the DecisionWise Learning Portal. Organizations, managers, or individuals may purchase the online training per individual, or secure an annual license for the organization.

For more information visit: https://decision-wise.com/employee-engagement-magic-training/

About DecisionWise

DecisionWise is an employee experience consulting firm specializing in leadership and organization development using assessments, feedback, coaching and training. DecisionWise services include employee engagement surveys, 360-degree feedback, life-cycles surveys, leadership coaching and organization development. DecisionWise was founded in 1996 and is privately held. With offices in the United States and Brazil, DecisionWise operates in over 70 countries and conducts surveys in over 30 languages.

Media contact:
Justin Warner
VP of Sales and Marketing

Infographic: Employee Engagement Vs. Satisfaction – What’s the Difference?

Download the PDF

Although satisfaction is essential, it’s only part of the employee engagement process. Learn the differences so you can cultivate highly engaged employees in your organization.

The Little Extra

Satisfaction is transactional. In return for their work, companies provide employees with the basics: compensation, tools and resources, physical safety, and respect to name a few.

Engagement is transformational. It contributes to peak experiences that make employees eager to give extra, discretionary effort.

It’s About Time

Satisfaction is about temporary happiness.

Engagement is about long-term feelings of purpose, belonging, growth, and personal accomplishment.

Shared Responsibility

Satisfaction is controlled by the organization.

Engagement is shared by the employer and employee, a 50-50 responsibility.

Show Me the Money

Satisfaction is expensive. Raises, perks, and office extras cost a lot of money.

Engagement can cost nothing but requires a conscious effort.

What’s My Motivation

Satisfaction is based on factors, which don’t necessarily motivate people but when taken away can cause them to be demotivated.

Engagement is about using the heart, spirit, hands, and mind.

More Than a Feeling

Satisfaction involves only feelings.

Engagement involves feelings as well, but also requires action.

To unlock the lasting power of employee engagement, these five ENGAGEMENT MAGIC elements are essential and should be cultivated within an organization:

Learn More About ENGAGEMENT MAGIC Training

Podcast: ENGAGEMENT MAGIC – 5 Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement

Join Dr. Tracy Maylett, for a presentation on “ENGAGEMENT MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.” Dr. Maylett will review the research behind the five keys and how managers can use ENGAGEMENT MAGIC to increase engagement with their teams. During this podcast we will provide answers to the following questions:

  • What is the personal benefit of being engaged?
  • What is the difference between being satisfied with your job and being engaged?
  • How does each of the ENGAGEMENT MAGIC elements contribute to engagement?
  • How do you avoid a victim mentality and take ownership for your engagement?
  • How can managers create an engaging work environment?

Meaning: Your Work Has Purpose Beyond the Work Itself

meaningful work

Meaning is one of the five keys in building employee engagement and it may be the most powerful of the keys. The power in Meaning comes because it is self-determined. Meaning is found when your work has purpose beyond the work itself.

How does meaning specifically relate to employee engagement?

Meaning is one of the most important factors of all the five ENGAGEMENT MAGIC® keys. As we perform driver analyses with organizations, we expect to find all the ENGAGEMENT MAGIC® factors in play – some organizations will emphasize growth, or connection, or impact – but almost, without fail, meaning will always be present as a factor for a driver of engagement in an organization.

Meaning relates to overall engagement in the sense that there are factors that lead you to either disengage or engage in organizations. Most of the factors that lead you to disengage would be things like, “I’m not paid enough” or “I don’t have training” “I don’t have tools to do my work” or “I don’t feel safe in my work environment.” Once those things are all in place, you feel pretty satisfied in your work and you aren’t really looking to leave.
Meaning is one element that brings you to the next level of commitment to the organization. It causes you to be more engaged.

Meaning, is simply defined as “I can find purpose in my work beyond just the job or the task itself.” For example, if I am assembling widgets on a factory floor, the purpose of my work might just be to assemble a widget. When I have meaning, I say “I know the purpose of this widget, and the good that it does in the world.” When that connection is made, then my commitment to my work increases exponentially.

Two Types of Meaning

The first type of meaning is inherent meaning. With this type, an individual may see the direct correlation between the work they are doing and the positive impact that happens in the world as a result their work.

The second type of meaning is associated meaning. With this type, an individual can see how the work they are doing allows them to do other things they find meaningful. A person might think, “because I do this job, I have a schedule that allows me to go to my kid’s soccer game,” or “because I do the work that I do, I have the money to pay for a house.” My work allows me to do all the other things that are meaningful to me outside of work.

Engaged company

How can an organization create a structure where meaning can exist?

Meaning is one of those things that people carry with them into the work place. When you walk through the doors on the first day of work, you have lived a life where you have established certain values and decided that certain things are personally important to you. You don’t check those beliefs at the door on the way in; they stay with you through your job. It’s unlikely that when you go work for an organization that they are going to get you to change your mind on those things that have been important to you your entire life.

However, there are a few things an organization can do to help foster meaning. First, ensure that your employees find the work you are doing important. In the selection process, the question, “Why do you want to work here?” is a really important question. If the answer is, “I want to work here because I live across the street” or “I want to work here because you pay me 25 cents an hour more than the other guy will pay me,” those really aren’t things that are going to be lasting in terms of providing meaning. But if the answer is, “what you do here is incredibly important to me. I want to be a part of that,” then that means the person is going to be walking through the door on the first day of work with a purpose that is pretty aligned to the organization.

The second thing that you can do is highlight the values and beliefs of your organization and help your employees connect the dots to their own values. Help them understand where “the way we do things here, and the things we are trying to accomplish” actually align with the individual’s values.

One of my favorite definitions for meaning is: What is important to me is important to the organization that I work for. Some organizations have official value statements or mission statements but whether or not you’ve taken the time to write your values down on a piece of paper, your organization has them.

You have values regarding the way you think work should be accomplished. You communicate those values through your actions, through decisions, based on how you deal with difficult situations. Those values are immediately visible to employees. Employees will quickly know whether or not the values you are espousing as an organization align with their own personal values.

Values Drive Meaning

Many organizations that drive meaning excel at putting their focus on an external element. For example, one of the key values of a software company I work with is “Do what you need to do to help the customer.” The value of helping the customer is so ingrained in their narrative that they talk about it every day. They are able to raise the eyesight of the entire organization, so they are no longer bickering with co-workers or evaluating fair or unfair treatment or co-worker effort and reward. They are focused on what they do together to help the customer. This common value creates meaning because almost everybody will carry that into their daily work. This value effects the decision making and thought processes of the entire organization.

engaged employees

Finding Greater Meaning in My Job as an Individual

First, focus on the people or the stake holder that you are serving as an organization. Lift your focus from “How do I get what I need out of this job?” to “How do I help other people get what they need?” Ask yourself, “How do I help them get the service that they need that will ultimately lead to an easier or better life?” If you put your focus on that, you tend to forget about your own needs and subordinate to the needs of other people; which can lead to more meaning.

Second, evaluate your own values. When I am talking about values, I’m not just talking about the things that I value. Everybody values, for example, money to some degree. I am talking about the things that are really important to you. See how those values align with the values of your organization and validate compatibility. You may conclude that there is more common ground than you originally thought. On the other hand, if there is little or no common ground and you don’t think what your company is trying to accomplish is important, then there is a chance that you will never be able to engage.

Remember, meaning is one of the most important factors to whether or not you are going to engage. If you can’t find meaning in your work, it is unlikely that you will really engage over the long-term. You might engage for a growth opportunity or for this or that, but over the long-term it’s going to be hard for you to stay motivated. If you find yourself thinking, “what I am doing is completely unimportant to me, it doesn’t fulfill any of my values, it doesn’t fulfill me as a person,” it may be time for you to go find something more personally fulfilling.

A Shared Purpose

Meaning is something that employees can learn and create but is not something that I would say most organizations should focus on. What an organization can control is creating a shared purpose for all employees. By definition, you can’t have a shared purpose if everybody is only looking out for themselves.

Lastly, creating meaning within an organization is a learned competency. Managers can be taught, “Here are the important components of creating meaning and how they can help employees see the meaning in their work.” It’s about understanding the alignment of organizational and employee values.

Listen to the podcast recording on meaning.

Further reading: “Do You See Meaning In Your Job? These Employees Do.”

Consider surveying your employees to see how meaning is impacting overall engagement.

Webinar: ENGAGEMENT MAGIC – 5 Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement

Join Dr. Tracy Maylett, for a presentation on “ENGAGEMENT MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.” Dr. Maylett will review the research behind the five keys and how managers can use ENGAGEMENT MAGIC to increase engagement with their teams. During this session we will provide answers to the following questions:

  • What is the personal benefit of being engaged?
  • What is the difference between being satisfied with your job and being engaged?
  • How does each of the ENGAGEMENT MAGIC elements contribute to engagement?
  • How do you avoid a victim mentality and take ownership for your engagement?
  • How can managers create an engaging work environment?

Watch Now:

Podcast: Meaning – Your Work Has Purpose Beyond the Work Itself

meaningful work

On this Engaging People Podcast episode, we discuss meaning – your work has purpose beyond the work itself.

Meaning is, simply defined, “I can find purpose in my work beyond just the job or the task itself.” It is one of the most important factors of all the five ENGAGEMENT MAGIC® keys for driving engagement in an organization. But how can organizations create a structure where meaning can exist? How can individuals find greater meaning in their job? How does meaning specifically relate to employee engagement?

David Long, VP of Assessment Services at DecisionWise, addresses these questions and more in an insightful podcast conversion with host Justin Warner.

Do You See Impact in Your Job?

do you see your impact

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” –– Jackie Robinson

Most of us work tirelessly to pay the bills, right? Some harder than others, but to really feel engaged in our work, it is crucial to recognize the IMPACT our work has.

Impact, as it relates to work, means seeing positive, effective, and worthwhile outcomes and results from your work.

According to the book, ENGAGEMENT MAGIC®: Five Keys for Engaging People, Leaders, and Organizations, Impact is one of the five essential keys that make up the acronym, ENGAGEMENT MAGIC® (Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact, Connection).

If meaning is the purpose––the “why” of our work, impact is the result––the “what.” Individuals can typically find meaning in their jobs, yet still feel like they are making little difference or progress. The missing piece is impact or being able to see a result from their efforts.

Let Them SEE Their Impact

The book, ENGAGEMENT MAGIC®, also states that organizations that “close the distance” between work and impact will have higher levels of employee engagement. These organizations break down the barriers between the work environment and the end results of work so employees can see that their effort is producing something worthwhile.

Engaged organizations find ways to make the work real. They remind employees, “This is why you’re coming to work every day. This is the difference you make.” How is this done?

For instance, a medical-device company could have their designers post videos interviews with patients on the internet allowing all employees to see how their efforts impact real patients. Factories might reward employees who make the greatest contributions to increased energy efficiency. Schools could solicit testimonials from former students who get into prestigious universities and put them in the hands of teachers.

Feedback is another powerful tool for creating impact and employee engagement. It may also be the easiest and quickest way to boost engagement. Some managers hesitate because they think if you give someone credit or positive feedback, they’ll become complacent. Research actually says that the opposite is true. People are more likely to become complacent because supervisors aren’t providing enough constructive feedback.

Seven Real-world Examples of Employees Seeing Impact in Their Jobs

James Rice, WikiJob

I work for WikiJob, a forum, jobs board and careers advice center for students and graduates looking to enter the world of work. I was hired almost three years ago, and was the first marketing employee at the firm. My responsibility was to grow our audience and grow our affiliate marketing revenue. As such, I redesigned much of our website, put a content marketing plan in place, and created more direct partnerships with our affiliate partners. Three years on, our annual traffic has grown from 3 million unique visitors to 6.5 million, and our affiliate revenue has grown by over 200%. This has transformed the business, made it much more profitable, and led to better employee retention (as well as more employees).

Steve Reuter, Inciting Purpose

I run a branding agency that specializes in mission and vision statements. Each time I work with a company or person to help them articulate their personal beliefs, drives, and purpose, I get a front-row seat to the positive outcomes of a person or company coming alive.

One specific example coming to mind is a nonprofit foundation on the West Coast. I spent several hours on the phone, sending e-mails, and writing, as I attempted to put the spirit of the foundation into words. Every step of the process was exciting and powerful. I learned about the immense good these people were trying to achieve and I helped employees ignite their own passions. Once the project was complete, staff were excited to use the script, not because it was especially good for advertising, but because the script put words to why they did what they did. The script gave them the voice they were looking for so that they could share their excitement and passion with the world.

Carol Gee, Venus Chronicles

As a retired educator and university administrator in the Atlanta area, the impact of my job was in the students with whom I interacted. One such student was Gordon. He was my graduate work-study student. He was very smart–he figured out how much my new car payment would be based on my trade-in, etc. all in his head, without the use of a calculator. But with a chip on his shoulder and his mad-at-the-world attitude, I was frightened he would end up in prison–something I was determined wouldn’t happen. We disagreed at times and butted heads a lot. I mostly listened while he did a lot of the talking and processing.

Today, Gordon is a public health analyst, husband, and proud father of three. My job’s impact was on the many student workers I supervised, mentored, and nurtured who are all successful, productive individuals.

Valerie Streif, The Mentat

At Mentat, I get to connect people directly with hiring managers for positions. No need to fill out endless applications on job boards with no responses.

A positive impact that I see at my job is helping people find a job. The rewarding feeling that comes with helping a frustrated or desperate individual secure employment is indescribable. The current methods of finding a job are outdated and basically set people up for failure. Applications get thrown out by applicant tracking systems if they are formatted incorrectly. Thus, some stellar applicants never come across the desk of hiring managers. People apply to hundreds of positions and only hear back from a small handful. It’s awful, especially for someone who has been unemployed for a while and really needs to find a job.

Whenever I feel like I’m hitting a wall at work, I look at our testimonials and all the nice things that people have said about our service, and it reminds me that we’ve done a lot of good for people who need a job. As a team, we all celebrate each placed client as a victory. Everyone whose story I listen to keeps me motivated to keep going and keep reaching out to people who need help.

“Mentat was great, they were quick to respond and made good suggestions for both my resume and LinkedIn profile. Every week I’d receive no less than 12 new positions that they had applied to on my behalf. The application and interview process is daunting, and doing it alone feels overwhelming, but Mentat eased the stress of applying to positions and put the power of choice back into my hands. I appreciate everything they did for me and recommend them to anyone feeling beat down by unemployment. They are the right partner to team up with.” Words like these remind me of the impact I have on other people’s lives.

Nicole Harris, One Last Frog

At One Last Frog we plan events for a multitude of clients. Specifically, our organization gives back by using 10% of our revenue to plan parties for children who are less fortunate, those who have never celebrated a birthday, or children with disabilities. We have also expanded these endeavors to planning weddings for couples with immense financial distress who have never had the opportunity to have a wedding.
A specific example is a Sweet Sixteen party that we planned for a little girl named Jaya. She has special needs, and we went above and beyond to make her event amazing. We had a memorial table set up for her beloved deceased mother and we made a children’s buffet full of gluten free foods for her and her friends from her school and dance class. We designed a mocktail bar so the children could feel a little more grown up, and we made sure that all vendors were aware of the children’s developmental conditions so we could give premier service tailored to their needs.

The impact endeavors like these have on our employees is astonishing. Our employees work harder and want to go the extra mile because they get to see and feel the impact of their efforts. When you see that little girl with her friends and family enjoying the night and celebrating her life, it is beyond explanation.

Our employee engagement and work ethic definitely increase after events where we really create an impact on other’s lives. For example, they move quicker by refilling the water in the vases, making sure everyone in wheelchairs can get down the ramp, and they are more optimistic with how they approach a new or challenging client. As a business owner, I evaluate employee engagement after each event. I gauge our culture, and see engagement increase after each event as our employees witness the difference they make in other’s lives, as we did for Jaya’s Sweet Sixteen.

Ruth Wilson, Brightmont Academy

As a board certified educational therapist and certified school principal, I’m the founder of Brightmont Academy, an accredited private school for students in grades 6-12 that uses an innovative one-to-one instruction model, pairing one teacher with one student. This gives us the ability to customize all educational programs, and to accommodate a wide variety of student needs.

I get to see positive impact firsthand every single time I attend a graduation and shake the hand of a young person who has earned a high school diploma from Brightmont Academy. Because we offer one-to-one instruction, we serve a wide range of students, including those with physical and mental health issues, learning disabilities, highly capable cognitive skills, and extraordinary talents that pull students out of school for competitive tournaments or performance opportunities.

One recent graduate signed with a professional sports team during his senior year and needed to begin touring with them in March, well before the end of the traditional school year. We were able to accelerate his studies so that he completed all coursework and earned his diploma just one day before starting the tour. Brightmont graduation ceremonies are as diverse as our students, and his consisted of a series of texts and us overnight-shipping his diploma to his father, but it was still quite an exciting celebration.

Our student was able to earn his diploma and begin a promising athletic career without having to give up or postpone either dream; getting to facilitate that kind of achievement makes my job the most rewarding there is.

Paula Jackler, GiveMeTap

GiveMeTap is a social enterprise that sells BPA-free water bottles. For each bottle sold, we give 5 years of clean water to a person in Africa. As a Growth Marketer, my job is to engage in marketing activities to expand our market presence. My day is really unpredictable. In any given day, you may find me writing a blog post, pitching to an influencer on social media, analyzing our website performance, or looking for events for sponsorships.

Since I work for a social startup, every single thing I do matters. Every person that I talk to, every piece of content I write, every event I attend…. everything counts. Because of my efforts, more people are hearing about GiveMeTap, buying more bottles, and that results in more people in Africa getting access to clean water.
So, when I’m overwhelmed or disengaged, that’s what I remember––what I do changes lives. Every minute that I waste on Instagram is a minute that I could have spent introducing GiveMeTap to someone who would change a life forever. And that renews my strength and engagement!

Read how 15 employees see MEANING in their jobs.
Read how these employees think AUTONOMY is crucial for employee engagement.
Read how these companies promote GROWTH opportunities to their employees.
Read how these employees find CONNECTION in their jobs.

Call to Action: Download the ENGAGEMENT MAGIC<sup style=

The Five Keys of Employee Engagement—it’s “MAGIC!”

It’s a simple concept: when we are able to throw our hearts, spirits, minds, and hands into the work we do, we produce better results. We are happier, healthier individuals, and more successful organizations. So, why are some organizations engaging, while others aren’t?

Through our research of over 14 million employee survey responses across 70 countries, we found some surprising results. Bottom line? It’s… well… MAGIC!

It’s not foosball tables in the breakroom. It isn’t pet care, free haircuts, and free food. It’s not even lucrative employee stock programs. Although those things are pretty cool (who wouldn’t love Taco Tuesdays?), and are often the “price of admission” (if the basics aren’t there, employees certainly won’t be satisfied), they don’t create engagement.

Employee Engagement isn’t something that you buy with perks. Rather, it’s a two-way process where the organization creates the environment that allows engagement to foster and employees choose to engage. While that environment looks different to each of us, there are some clear commonalities that create a culture in which we choose to engage.

As we poured through the data, searching for common concepts that were related to both overall engagement and team performance, five themes became very clear. They’re M-A-G-I-C:

Meaning – Your work has purpose beyond the job itself.

Autonomy – The power to shape your work and environment in ways that allow you to perform at your best.

Growth – Being stretched and challenged in ways that result in personal and professional progress.

Impact – Seeing positive, effective, and worthwhile outcomes and results from your work.

Connection – The sense of belonging to something beyond yourself.

When these elements are present, organizations and employees tend to be significantly more engaged. In fact, when looking at those organizations scoring highest in these five keys, the top quartile had overall engagement scores that were 74% higher than those in the lowest quartile.

So next time you try to solve your engagement woes by adding a soda fountain to your breakroom, ask yourself how carbonated sugar addresses one of the five keys of engagement.  You might save some employees (and teeth) in the process.