A constant complaint about “employee engagement” is that the various research houses define engagement differently, offer different surveys to measure engagement, and then report those results in ways that mean different things in different environments and cultures. For example, Gallup found that Germany’s level of engaged employees is just 13%, but this new Barometer found 89% of German employees to be engaged or highly engaged.

What Barometer? The Conference Board (TCB) recently released a report (subscription required for full access) that attempted to find the common ground in the various approaches to employee engagement by coming to a single definition of engagement and provide a consistent measure for engagement everywhere in the world.

Adding to the litany of engagement definitions, here’s TCB’s: “An employee can be considered engaged if he or she is intellectually stimulated and passionate about his or her work, and demonstrates that through his or her intended actions.”

I like this definition because it speaks to both attitude and actions/results. TCB’s approach also eliminates perceived cultural perception differences to help a company truly understand the level of engagement across different cultural regions and then directly compare those results without “norming” for cultural differences, a process that introduces error into survey results.

What does this mean? In TCB’s words: “The state of mind called employee engagement is experienced in much the same way by workers throughout the world.”

What do you think about this definition of engagement and the idea of cultural universality? Is it too narrow? Too broad?