Three ways to define employee engagement in your organization

Connecting the dots between thinking, feeling and doing has kept philosophers philosophizing for millennia. Lately, in the work world, lots of talk and time is being devoted to why and how these human factors correlate within organizations. The foundation of an Employee Engagement model developed by TalentMap is premised on the ties between head (cognition), heart (emotion) and hands (behavior). Simple science that makes sense.

define employee engagement head

#1 Thinking/Cognition: The HEAD

What’s your appraisal of the role you play as an individual, as a member of your department and in relation to your employer in general?  Are your skills and knowledge a good fit with the job in which you find yourself, the people with whom you interact, your organization as a whole? Do these factors support your career and financial aspirations in a real and tangible way?


The HEAD is the perceptive, intuitive reasoning that employees consider when assessing themselves in relation to their work and work environment. The cognitive connection.

define employee engagement heart

#2 Feeling/Emotion: The HEART

How do you feel about your work, your colleagues and associates, the leadership team and your organization overall? Are your personal values shared by co-workers and management across the board? Are they aligned with your employer? Do you feel a sense of belonging?  Do you feel valued?


The HEART is the sense of purpose and meaning, the emotional connection that employees feel about their job, peers and workplace.

define employee engagement hand

#3 Doing/Behavior: The HANDS

Are you and those you work with observably productive, innovative and unrelenting in the face of challenges? Do you act as ambassadors on behalf of the organization? Might you even say you voluntarily willing to “go the extra mile” or “put in 110 per cent”?


The HANDS are about observable behaviors and associated outcomes. The higher the level of employee engagement, the better the outcomes - for employers from their staff and for employees from their organization.

Uniting self, job and workplace is definitely something of a present-day philosophical quandary. Employee engagement thought leaders contemplate, debate and pontificate different how, why and what for’s.  But simply put:  “when an employee displays a cognitive connection, an emotional connection and observable behaviors that equate to better outcomes (head, heart and hands) – that employee is truly engaged.” ¹

¹TalentMap Edition, Employee Engagement and Action Planning for Dummies, John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd. 2017;

Interested in learning more about actions you can take in your organization?

Webinar Library

Helping Management Better Connect with Employees: The Importance of Connecting with People

By Norm Baillie-David | October 9, 2018

Webinar | Join the growing conversation around the importance of building an engaging management team that connects with your employees.

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By Norm Baillie-David | September 7, 2018

Webinar | For Mental Illness Awareness Week, CAMH joined TalentMap to discuss what HR leaders should consider when building a workplace mental health strategy.

What Effective Employee Engagement Looks Like in Local Governments

By Natalie Verania | July 25, 2018

Webinar | Absenteeism and general disengagement have long been associated with civil servants. Studies suggest they can be attributed to a litany of factors. Watch the webinar to learn more.

How to Recruit, Engage, and Retain the Right Talent with Employer Branding

By Natalie Verania | July 11, 2018

Webinar | How do you pique the interest of amazing candidates – the type of talent you want to attract? Watch the webinar to learn how employer branding feeds recruitment, engagement, and retention.

How Employee Engagement Can Reduce Presenteeism and Absenteeism

By Norm Baillie-David | June 13, 2018

Webinar | Loss of workplace productivity results from employee health problems and/or personal issues like family illness or stress. Learn how to reduce presenteeism and absenteeism during TalentMap’s webinar.

Employee Recognition: How to Promote Praise and Influence Engagement in the Workplace

By Norm Baillie-David | May 11, 2018

Webinar | A well-executed employee recognition program is one piece of the foundation that creates long-lasting, sustainable engagement within organizations. TalentMap joins forces with Kudos to discuss recognition strategies and tools to boost engagement.

Handling Verbatim Comments in Your Engagement Survey: How to Walk the Tightrope Between Insight and Confidentiality

By Norm Baillie-David | May 4, 2018

Webinar | Open-ended survey questions give organizations a deeper glimpse at how employees think. These verbatim comments are a goldmine of information. But how can confidentiality be assured?

Redefining Professional Growth in a Re-Imagined Work World

By Norm Baillie-David | March 27, 2018

Webinar | TalentMap’s Senior Consultant, David Ang, discusses what professional growth means to today’s employees who have vastly different work expectations due to technology advances and market demands.

Employee Engagement in Higher Education: A Tough Lesson to Learn

By Norm Baillie-David | March 22, 2018

Webinar | Higher education institutions have above average employee engagement challenges — even more so with safety considerations around gun violence and the #MeToo campaign. Watch the webinar recording to learn more about the state of employee engagement in higher education.

Job Purposing and Employee Engagement: Crafting Meaningful Work for Employees

By Norm Baillie-David | February 12, 2018

Webinar | Norm Baillie-David, SVP at TalentMap and Bea Boccalandro, President at VeraWorks, discuss how job purposing can heighten employee engagement, performance, and wellbeing.

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