Background: Whether it is by creating the conditions that lead to maximizing human capital or the outcomes of productivity, increased performance and work ethic (Karatepe & Olugbade, 2016; Zhong et al., 2015), employee engagement has consistently been linked to workforce development. However, this past year we saw this relationship challenged due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. Additionally, amid COVID-19 a second pandemic of racial injustice created twin crises that further complicated the experiences of employee engagement in the workforce. Purpose: As such, the purpose of this study was to explore how identity-based, qualitative research can provide insight to engagement research and practice during times of crisis. Therefore, the study sought to answer the following research question: in what ways can social identities help us further understand what it means to be engaged during times of crisis? Method: To explore this question, an intersectional qualitative analysis was conducted across data from participant interviews of 15 diverse public servants across the US in local, state and federal agencies. Results: Two themes were identified that informed the answers to this research question: (1) the need to expand the bounds of engagement and (2) the varying interpretations within the meaning of engagement Application: Implications for both engagement research and practice are discussed.