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Do your employees show up to work each day engaged with your mission, and ready to do their best work to advance the company’s goals? Or are they just there for a paycheck?

Far too often, team members fall into the latter camp—and of course, that means they’re not engaged. Boosting employee engagement is a main focus for many team leaders, and there are a lot of schools of thought about how best to go about it.

Employee Engagement and Emotions

Today I want to propose something simple: To engage your employees in a meaningful way, it’s wise to think in terms of emotions. As an employer, you have to ask yourself: What are the emotional drivers for employee engagement?

What am I talking about? Simply that employee engagement is often rooted in feelings—feelings of being appreciated, of being wanted, of doing something meaningful, and of being part of something bigger.

Let me show you what I mean. Here’s a quick guide to emotional thinking as it relates to employee engagement.

Emotional Drivers

Your employees want to feel proud.

One of the big emotional drivers is a sense of pride; your employees want to feel like they are doing good, high-quality work that matters. They want to feel like they can go home and brag about the good things they accomplished during their work day. Does your organization promote this sense of pride? Are you giving your people meaningful work to do, and clearly showing the difference it makes?

Your employees want to feel recognized.

Your employees want their good work to be noticed, and their efforts to be appreciated. Do you make a point of praising good work? Of saying thank you to your employees? Of passing along positive feedback from clients and customers?

Your employees want to feel like they are growing and improving.

Your team members also want to feel like they have opportunities for professional development—that the time spent at your company is sharpening them, not making them go stagnant. What kinds of professional development opportunities are you offering to your employees?

Your employees want to feel heard.

A final emotional driver for employee engagement: Your team members want to have voices of their own. Do you welcome their feedback? Do you involve them in decision-making? Do they feel like what they say is heard and taken seriously?

Master Emotional Thinking

When you think in terms of how your employees feel—and, how they want to feel—you can start to think more specifically about employee engagement. To learn more, I encourage you to reach out to me. I’m always happy to talk about emotional thinking with leaders and executives!