Engaged Employees Aren’t Happy (And Other Silly Ideas About Employee Engagement):

Don’t be Fooled by the Headlines

April is a month to celebrate fools and trickery. That said, myths abound year ‘round about what it means for employees to be engaged. Over the years, if you’ve been following the CustomInsight blog, we hope that we’ve communicated the essentials of employee engagement and how challenging and fundamental it is for organizations.

That said, we’re here to bust some foolish ideas about employee engagement and engagement surveys.

1. A 12-question survey ought to cover the bases. Hmmm … this isn’t speed dating. An effective employee engagement survey has benchmarked results and taps into what factors are key motivators, and which ones kill motivation, in your specific organization (and even departments within the organization). 12 questions most certainly will tell you whether your employees are engaged or not. They simply won’t tell you what, where, why. And these last three Ws are key to developing effective action plans.

2. An organization just knows whether its employees are engaged or not. Hmmm … unless you’re working on some Sixth Sense corporate mojo, employee engagement cannot be measured unless you employ a survey. This goes for big, medium-sized, and small organizations. So, leave the Sixth Sense to Hollywood, and dig in.

3. An engagement survey shows you care. Hmmm … again, you’re working on a lot of suppositions here. An employee engagement survey is the first step toward taking corrective actions. It’s not designed to “feel things out.” That’s simply a waste of time and money … for everybody. So, if you’re not going to do anything with the survey results, if you’re not going to create action plans based on survey results, take pause.

4. Keep emotion out of the office. Hmmm … emotion is human. Unless you’re working with HAL (our condolences if you are), emotion is part of every workplace. What does this boil down to? How your team feels matters and affects their work. There’s a UCLA study that shows 90% of decisions are dominated by the emotional brain. Understanding the emotions of your team, respecting them, and dealing with them is pretty essential to employee engagement. Though there’s a huge difference between employee engagement and satisfaction, the latter is part of the whole picture of the former.

5. It’s too late! You’re doomed! Sometimes organizations dig holes and settle in there. Having lost the faith of their employees, these organizations and managers simply hit a wall and … do nothing. Engagement isn’t an overnight fix. It’s a strategy that is an intrinsic part of corporate culture. Recognizing the organization has some pretty big challenges and taking the first steps toward action are key to climbing out of the pit.

Don’t be fooled by quick-fixes and flashy headlines. Engagement isn’t a passing fad. It’s something that drives organizations and success. There isn’t just one magic engagement formula. Each organization is different. Each organization thrives on different things. So, buckle in. It’s time to get to work.

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