Employee engagement can be an elusive goal, almost to the point of distraction. What makes it even more difficult to assess is that what you should be striving for may be different than what you think it is. Here are 5 myths about employee engagement you need to know.
1. If you do everything right, everyone will be engaged.
This is a myth we as business leaders tell ourselves. Even the best data available predict a large percentage of the merely bored and a small percentage of the actively hostile.
2. 100% employee engagement is a worthy goal.
100% engagement is not the sign of a vital business but of a cult that is frighteningly good at coercion and weeding out weak links. In a business, this means questionable people practices, the likelihood of groupthink, and eventual stagnation. All of this leads to simmering resentments, passive aggressive resistance, in-fighting, secret ruling councils, and general mayhem. Not to mention the effort involved in maintaining complete engagement, that could be a fatal distraction from the little things like innovative problem solving, running a business, and making a profit.
3. High employee engagement means your people problems will go away.
Ha! You wish! Even if you staff a company with people who all think the same way, some people are engaged by processes and procedures and relationships that will cause others to disengage. It’s nice to think that you can get everyone to accept each other’s differences as valuable contributions, but that breaks down under stress. Those like-minded employees will find ways to compete, whine, and generally annoy each other.
4. Busy equals engaged.
I cannot tell you how many overworked bored people I know. And that is as true for solopreneurs as it is for cogs in a large corporate machine.
5. High Engagement is sustainable.
All organizations experience highs and lows. The practices that create engagement this year may feel tired and old next year. Engagement cannot be sustained, or even maintained, it must be renewed.