A Strategy for Increased Work Engagement

Inactivity is not the answer.

Reducing demands does not mean sitting around with nothing to do. Idleness would not do much for your career profile. Idleness could get dull.

The issue is what you do, not whether you do something or nothing. The most energy draining work are tasks that run contrary to the values you bring to work. These tasks may be tedious in themselves or just poorly organized. Work that fills your time while failing to draw upon your value talents feels a draining sense of doing a dead-end job.

Here is a perspective from our surveys of hospital employees. The graph shows that employees’ future level of engagement is predicted in the first instance by their original level of engagement. Basic connections with work tend to persist until something changes in the person or the work context.


The second predictor of engagement is the level of value congruence. Those who reported a strong congruence of their actual work with their valued work tended to be more engaged a year later. Those on the low end of value congruence tended to be less engaged a year later.

Valued work does not change everything: basic levels of engagement persist over time. But value congruence makes a significant contribution to predicting the direction in which engagement will change over time.

So the challenge is shifting your activities towards more valued tasks.

The next step is identifying strategies for doing just that.


  1. Dear Dr. Leiter:

    It is a pleasure to read this post, because last week I went to another town to do a workshop about planning sustentable work, enhacing values as a core factor to project meaningfull tasks, in order to avoid burnout.

    I agree it is only a part of the factors to take care about, but as you say, it helps a lot to maintain engagement at work.


    1. Heriberto

      I’m so pleased that the post was useful. There is a great amount of power in doing work that you believe in.


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