SOKR Documentation
Table of Contents

The Flawed thinking behind Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a term that is often thrown around in the business world. It refers to the level of enthusiasm, commitment, and dedication an employee has towards their job and the organization they work for. It’s a measure of how invested and motivated they are to perform their role to the best of their ability.

Flawed Prevalent Thinking

When it comes to engagement, the prevalent thinking is that employees can be kept engaged by providing them with facilities and workplace features such as pool tables and bean bags. The idea is that these perks will make the workplace more enjoyable, and hence employees will be more productive. However, this thinking is far from the truth.

Progress vs Ping Pong Tables

The truth behind employee engagement lies in the concept of Progress. In the book “The Progress Principle” by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, they state that “the single most important factor in employee engagement is making progress in meaningful work.” It’s not about the facilities, but about the work itself and how employees feel about their contribution to it.

Research has shown that when employees feel like they’re making progress in their work, they’re more engaged, motivated, and productive. In fact, the authors of the book conducted a study of over 12,000 diary entries from 238 employees and found that making progress in meaningful work was the biggest motivator for them.

Engagement in the Age of Remote work

The relevance of the progress principle and engagement is even more significant in the remote workplace. With the pandemic, more and more companies are adopting remote work as a norm. Remote work can be isolating, and employees may feel disconnected from their team and organization. Hence, it’s essential to provide them with a sense of progress to keep them engaged.

To do this, it’s vital to set a clear direction and objective goals for both individuals and teams. Regularly measuring, tracking, and publishing the results can also provide employees with a sense of progress. This can be done through regular check-ins, performance reviews, and feedback sessions.


In conclusion, providing employees with facilities and workplace features such as pool tables and bean bags may seem like a quick fix to engage them, but it’s not sustainable in the long run. Effective goal setting and tracking are more relevant to engagement than anything else. By focusing on progress, companies can ensure that their employees are motivated, productive, and committed to their work.


If you’re looking for a method to measure progress and communicate goals effectively, you might want to consider OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). OKRs are a popular goal-setting framework that helps organizations and individuals set and achieve ambitious goals. By using OKRs, you can align your team’s efforts towards a common goal, measure progress, and track performance regularly.

To learn more about OKRs and how they can help your organization or team, you can check out resources such as the book “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr, or online articles and courses. Implementing OKRs can be a game-changer for your team’s progress and engagement. So don’t hesitate to explore this powerful tool and see how it can benefit your organization.