Employee engagement is of the utmost importance. A few weeks ago we chatted about ten employee engagement statistics you can’t afford to ignore in 2017, and those stats were alarming.

One of the most alarming stats? According to Gallup, only one-third of U.S. employees are engaged with the work that they do.

It is important to learn about engagement so that you can bring that to your workplace, and a great way to do that is to learn from other experts who are vying to make the workplace happier, healthier, and better for employees.

We searched for a few great TED Talks about this very subject so that you can watch these speakers and get excited to engage your employees today.

1. Why We Need To Treat Our Employees As Thoughtfully As Our Customers

In this talk, Diana Dosik shares her opinions on how much companies spend every year just to understand and follow the customser journey. Companies create intricate customer journey maps that help companies understand and plan for any bumps in the road that may make purchasing difficult for customers.

Alas, Diana states,

companies spend 1,000x less understanding and shaping the journeys of the people they depend on most, their own employees.

In fact, according to Diana, companies spend 1 trillion dollars per year understanding customer behavior, but only 750 million per year understanding employee behavior.

The main takeaway from Diana’s speech is that we should look at our company and what we expect from our employees. How, as a company, can we align our goals to meet our employee’s journeys?

An example Diana gives in her speech is about a team of product developers. The company wanted the product developers to go fast (and the product developers wanted the same thing), but the company had over time developed a system of over a hundred informal sign-offs that needed to happen that was paved with office politics before products were approved.

Once the company was able to understand that roadblock, they were able to align their companies employee journey in a way that was speedier and more effective.

Companies spend 1,000x less understanding and shaping the journeys of the people they depend on most, their own employees - Diana Dosik Click To Tweet

2. Stop Trying to Motivate Your Employees

In this talk, Kerry Goyette discusses motivation in the workplace, and why it isn’t always an external thing. Kerry begins by talking about some of the myths of motivation and how some employers feel that they can come into a workplace, give a rousing speech, and then get an entire team of people to get excited about the work that they do.

In actuality, motivation is more complicated.

Kerry discusses that

motivation is our drive to go seek pleasure and avoid pain.

In this, Kerry states that when companies try to motivate people they cannot have a one size fits all approach to it. If someone is motivated on the pleasure side of things, they will react to news and changes differently from someone who is motivated to avoid pain.

As a takeaway, we must understand the differences in how our employees are motivated when we are building teams, working with our employees, and changing anything happening in a company. It is easy to write an employee off because they don’t fit into our narrow definition of what motivation looks like, but by doing so, you are alienating a potentially big part of your workforce.

3. The Happy Secret To Better Work

In this talk, Shawn Achor discusses happiness and positivity in the workplace, in school, and in life.

As a positive psychologist, Shawn posits that so many people in science strive to study the average of people. Shawn argues that,

if we study what is merely average we will remain merely average.

Instead, Shawn argues that we should look at,

not just how to move people up to the average but how we can move the entire average up.

We can introduce this way of thinking into our work too so that we strive to not focus on being average, but being better than average as a team.

One of the main points and takeaways from Shawn’s speech was that our happiness cannot be tied to a goal, and instead, we must create happiness first.

As a company, we cannot tie happiness to success and working hard because in that model there is always something new to achieve. Once you hit one sales target, you have another sales target, the cycle continues, and you never reach a peak happiness.

So, Shawn states that we must find ways for our brains to be happy and positive in the present, and in turn, we will have a “happiness advantage” which makes our brain work better than we could ever work with neutral or negative emotions.

If we study what is merely average we will remain merely average @shawnachor Click To Tweet

4. Frientorship: The Solution To The Employee Engagement Problem

In this talk, Claudia Williams proposes a new kind of company culture, one that places “frientorship” at the forefront. Claudia states that this is a combination of friendship, mentorship, and leadership.

Friendship is important because it creates an environment of people that you can depend on. When you have friends at work, you are more likely to succeed and feel excited about your job.

As an employee, you can seek out those friendships, and as employers, you can create those opportunities within your workplace.

Mentorship is another piece to this puzzle that makes a huge impact. When employees have mentors, it impacts many things such as employee retention, customer satisfaction, employee and company earnings, etc. Claudia states, “there is zero downside to a great mentor relationship.”

Lastly, the third principle is leadership. Claudia states that you have great leadership when you balance both accountability and self-awareness. You must hold yourself and others accountable equally, and you must be self-aware enough to fix any behaviors as a leader that are not up to that standard. This will create the best leaders, even when you are not at the helm of your company doing the leading anymore.

With these three concepts in tow, you can create an engaged workforce of people that are excellent at their jobs.

5. How To Make Millennials Want To Work For You

In this talk, Keevin O’Rourke discusses how millennials are perceived and how to activate this subsect of the workforces that is projected to make up roughly 50% of the workforce by 2020.

According to a Forbes study referenced by Keevin, 67% of millennials want to start their own business, while only 13% of millennials want to climb the corporate ladder and become CEO or president.

We already know that many employees, including millennials aren’t in it just for the cushy offices and open floor plans, they want more than that from their work environment.

Keevin shares two things that millennial employees want in a company culture:

1. Micromanaging versus autonomy

Millennials want autonomy over their work. It doesn’t mean they don’t like teamwork; millennials work well in teams. They just don’t want to be micromanaged in every aspect of their career.

Keevin shares four areas of the workplace, that author Daniel Pink shares in his book Drive, where people want autonomy.

Those four areas are:

  • what we do
  • when we do it
  • how we do it
  • and whom we do it with

If you are a company who wants to attract and keep millennial workers, you have to be willing to give up some micromanaging tendencies and think about how you can provide autonomy in some or all of these areas.

2. Money versus meaning

The second thing that Keevin shares in his talk are about money versus meaning. It doesn’t mean that millennial workers don’t place value on money, but it does mean that your company needs to provide far more than just a steady paycheck.

Millennials will go to another company, even if it pays less, for a more fulfilling career. So, you cannot just throw money at your millennial retention problem. You have to do more than that.


Engaging your employees is something that your company should always be striving for. When you have an engaged workforce, you can accomplish so much, and it makes an impact on your bottom line. These five TED Talks do a great job at inspiring you to think outside of the box when it comes to employee engagement, motivation, and company culture.


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By | September 14th, 2017|Employee Engagement|

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