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(Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Your Own Engagement

We’ve had a cool piece of career navigation technology locked in the lab here for a couple years while we calibrated it and shined the brass. I couldn’t be more amped up to share it with you now.

Perhaps you’ve already found your way over to the links that get you to the New Rules index and you have your report. If not, the link is at the bottom of this page.

With that report and all the secrets I’m about to spill in this post, you’ll have more information about where you are relative to others’ experiences at work, more of a guide on how to chart your course at your job, than any research team (so far as I’m aware) has shared broadly with the public.

You may have noticed that more of what a company used to take care of is now your responsibility. Few organizations offer pensions anymore; you get matching funds for a self-directed 401(k). Health care decisions and their financial consequences are increasingly on you. It’s rare that you can find one company where you will spend your whole career; you need to manage your own trajectory and your “personal brand” on LinkedIn. You can go to and give your opinion about your company any time your want.

It’s only logical that the most important “employee engagement” survey be one that you take when you want and that gives a confidential report directly to you.

With apologies that this will be a longer post that usual, I’ll take you through the wiring behind the technology. This will get ever-so-slightly geeky, nothing you can’t handle.

We conducted two waves of research among a representative sample of employees in the United States. They answered about a hundred questions. Twelve key aspects of a job – what we ended up calling the New Rules – emerged from our analyses. They’re what you need to be motivated to stay and deliver your best for your employer. They’re what you deserve if you’re delivering you best.

Each rule is measured by three questions, which makes 36 core statement. We analyzed what proportion of people in the representative sample ended up at each level and got this curve.


It’s like a pile of snow the wind has pushed to the right, with a small accumulation pushed against a wall on the far right. (Forgive the snow drift metaphor; I live in Minnesota.)

The report starts with your New Rules index, which comes from calculating where you are on the curve above at the time your take the assessment. It’s a percentile. If your index comes back at 79, you’re currently in a better spot than 79 percent of employees in the U.S. and in a worse spot than 21 percent.

We labeled ranges along the snow drift. We did so a little reluctantly, as we didn’t want to replicate the issues that happen when people get dropped into a bucket and get blamed for it. Four safeguards keep that from happening:

  • We always supply the New Rules index, which is more precise.
  • We made sure the names and descriptions of the lower ranges were not accusatory. If you’re currently in the demoralized or frustrated ranges, we assume you didn’t choose to be there and, while you are there, you are not “more or less out to damage” the company.
  • We don’t assume you’re stuck in one spot. In fact, you can return as often as you like. Your report reflects your current situation, not who you are as an employee.
  • Unless you told them, no one at your company even knows you took the assessment. (We have additional safeguards if we’re doing this process for a company.)

Your New Rules index is an overall measure. It’s just the start.

One of 180 descriptions that populate a New Rules report depending on your responses. This is the feedback on Rule 7 for those who have high index numbers and answer “strongly agree” to all the meaning statements.

Your report also includes where you are now on each of the 12 rules. That index of 79 might have come by virtue of generous pay and modest company transparency, or vice versa, just to mention two of the 12 rules. Multiply the scenarios across 12 rules with five levels within each rule and there are more than 244 million possible reports at least slightly different from all the rest. (When I saw that number, I had to double-check the math. It’s right.)

If you get your New Rules index when things are bad and then return when things are good, you’ll notice a difference in the tone of the reports. If your number is high, we figure it’s okay to joke around or make a bad pun. If your index is low, you almost certainly don’t think it’s funny, and neither do we.

At the lower right of the report page is a spot where you can generate a PDF for your reference. Many people find it useful to share the report with a friend or family member whose advice they trust. But that’s your call.

The New Rules index is empirically sound and grounded in our team’s extensive research advising people on how to make the most of their careers. It gives you immediate information and advice, because no one is going to take responsibility for your situation more than you will. Use it as you see fit.

If you like where this is headed, I would greatly appreciate you sharing it with your network.

It helps keep my meaning level high.

(If you don’t have your current New Rules index, you can get it through the link at the lower left of the blog page.)


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