The Pronoun Test: Measuring Employee Engagement

In Daniel Pink’s book, DRiVE, Pink explains how the Former U.S. Labor Secretary, Robert B. Reich, would issue a “pronoun test” when he visited a company and talked with the employees. The goal was to discover the level of engagement.
He found that employees who refer to their company in terms of “we” were different than those who referred to the company as “they.”
Consider yourself: Chances are, when you’re satisfied and pleased with something that your company is doing, you take ownership, saying “We’re successfully implementing a new program” or “We have high morale” or “We have excellent camaraderie so we get things done.” When you are disappointed or unsatisfied, you tend to remove yourself from the equation: “They don’t give high compensation” or “They struggle to meet deadlines” or “They don’t get things done.”

Measuring Employee Engagement

Reich’s pronoun test is an interesting way to approach the measuring of employee engagement. In listening for the differing pronouns, we and they, Reich concludes that an employee who uses we feels more integrated within the company, identifies him or herself more with the company, and takes more ownership in the company. Presumably, people who are committed to their company and to their job in this way are more likely to be satisfied, motivated, and effective in their work.
5 Keys of Employee Engagement White Paper
Related Blog Post: Employee Satisfaction vs. Motivation and Employee Engagement

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