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Look down at your left hand. Focus on the infamous ring finger. Do you have a metal band on the digit in question? If so, at some time you have probably been asked, "How did [he/she/you] pop the question?"

For those of you without a banded ring finger, perhaps one day you too will face "the" question. Possibly your story is romantic, cheesy, humorous or the rare disaster — however it went down, there is a story.

This story represents the unique way you entered into a binding relationship with another person. Most people put at least a little time, money and effort into making the right impression.

But what about your work 'engagement?' When was the last time someone asked, "How did they ask you to join the team?" Or more importantly, "How do you maintain enthusiasm for your job?" Sure, these aren't questions you face very often. But what if your team members were asked about their story?

Most people spend as much, if not more, time with their coworkers than with their wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend or beloved pet. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that restaurant managers actually work 32 percent more hours than the average American — and the average employed American spends 8.6 hours per day working or doing work-related activities.

When you offer a job, you are making as much of a commitment to the applicant as they make to you by accepting. They agree to be present, to be respectful and to do their job as you've defined it... until termination you do part.

In hiring someone, you make similar promises. You will be there for them. You will be respectful of their time and needs. And you will do your job as a manager or owner, which includes investing in your employees and engaging them in their work environment.

When you rely on your employees to be the face of your company, as every restaurant does, you need to be sure they care how diners feel about your business. Many people in the foodservice industry are disengaged. This is not surprising since restaurants can be up against factors like inconsistent hours, lower pay and physically demanding conditions.

So how do you infuse your team with consistent, healthy doses of positive energy? What about implementing a program to encourage them. A recent blog,"4 Great Tools to Boost Employee Engagement," highlights new research on recognition programs that can be used to keep employees engaged. It also suggests a few Web-based recognition tools that can help make the work relationship successful.

According to the latest research by Bersin & Associates, "companies with effective recognition programs [have] 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than those with ineffective recognition programs." Imagine if there was a tool that could lower divorce rates by 31 percent. Every married couple would use it.

Engaged employees can increase revenue per interaction, improve repeat business and ensure customer advocacy. Recognition tools give employers a way to recognize employees and reward team members who are invested in the company.

Every job offer may not be like getting down on one knee with a ring in a Tiffany's box, but you are offering someone a work engagement. Make sure you do your part to live up to the deal.

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Nate DaPore
Nate DaPore, PeopleMatter President and Chief Executive Officer As the spirited leader of PeopleMatter, Nate is passionate about providing team members, including his own, with a rewarding workplace experience that values creativity and innovation.
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