An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.
An organization with ‘high’ employee engagement might therefore be expected to outperform those with ‘low’ employee engagement, all else being equal.
From the Wikipedia article on Employee Engagement
“I was like a drone.”
Then PhD candidate Scott Woody, who had grown weary working in a science lab
Then, after a shift:
“I thought work was supposed to suck, that work was work. Now I am doing a job that I love and that is fun.”
When people like Scott “flip” into a state of creative confidence, their faces light up with newfound optimism and courage as they talk about their new outlook. Some people, like Scott, have been actively unhappy with their work lives… Most of the people we meet, however, aren’t fully conscious of their level of dissatisfaction with their work. They just know that they could contribute more, if they were able to approach what they do differently. They realize they are just bringing half of themselves to work.
When people go for the heart – when they seek out passion in their work – they can tap into and unleash inner reserves of energy and enthusiasm.
Tom Kelley and David Kelley, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All (emphasis added)
You can call it what you want to. Employee engagement; morale in the workplace. But, it boils down to this: do people want to be there? At work? With their hearts and minds and eyes and brains focused on the task at hand for that day, that week?
Or, are they “actively unhappy?” At work?
If they are “actively unhappy,” then let’s call this a serious talent/morale/employee engagement issue. A person at work who does not want to be at work; a person at work who is not really there at all; only “bringing half of themselves to work,” is not really there at work at all.
And most jobs need to be done by folks who are really there – you know, fully “present” — to do those jobs.
Imagine that you are having surgery performed on you. (OK – that’s a “big one.”) So, simply imagine that you are getting your hair cut/styled, and you have to look your best for that big presentation two days from now. (It will be recorded on video, and put up on the company web site). Would you like your surgeon, your hair stylist, to only be “half there” to do his/her work at the very moment that the work is on “you” — the work is on your body, or your hair?
Would you like your head trainer; your head customer service representative; your accounting person over payroll; your CEO… to be actively unhappy at work?
Would you like to work in a job where you are “actively unhappy?”
Now, there are times when “work” needs to get done, and it can be draining, close to drudgery. But even then, if that work is in service to a passion in your heart and life, it is “survivable,” and you find an inner energy to get such work done.
But if you show up Monday morning, simply wanting to be somewhere else – week after week – it’s probably time for a shift. Either a shift in jobs – a career change – or, maybe an inner shift in your own outlook.
And if you are leading a team, or an entire organization, where a bunch of the folks seem to want to be elsewhere – anywhere but there… well, let’s call this “big problem to work on” serious.
Which is better?