If we are performing, so what if we are not engaged

This time of year there is a high level of activity, with the completion of year-end reviews, goal setting for the year ahead and our annual engagement survey for the whole organisation.

Reflecting on last year's results and in the midst of our preparation for this year has got me thinking about what valuable information we can obtain from our results this year by linking our Making a Difference Dialogue (MADD) and Engagement processes together, as ultimately they both go hand in hand.

A few questions that have been going through my head:

"If teams have low engagement yet high performance, what does this mean?"
"Why would engagement be low if teams are achieving, delivering and performing?"

We know that dis-engaged people can perform as this has an element of compliance, but research shows that improving engagement drives results that matter. In an article called "The Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance" it explains that a compliance culture creates a task mentality, which can suck the fun and creativity out of work.

Over time, I wonder if a task and compliance driven performance process, without an equal focus on engagement, will ultimately reduce engagement within teams. We have learned that low engagement generally resonates with higher absences and turnover and poor team relationships that will ultimately reduce performance over time.

I think the effort and energy in driving a performance only culture is unsustainable long term. It has to be a mix of both. For me, engagement is about motivation, both physically and emotionally, whereas performance is about productivity or getting the job done.

So that is looking back, but what about looking forward? This also led me to think about the value of our goals that are being set, which has posed a few more questions:

"If, in the main, 100% of goals are being achieved, are they too easy?"

Another article I recently read stated that if goals are challenging and stretch an individual, a successful goal attainment rate should be on average 60-80%.


"Are our goals of a high quality that challenge and drive clear improvements?"
"Can we be a little braver in our evaluation of performance?"

I am looking forward to debating these questions with teams in the coming months once our results have been collated and analysed.

Do any of these questions relate to you?

I would be interested in your views, and more importantly how we can work together to align engagement and performance more effectively going forward. Please get in touch with me.

Gallup states "managers don't have to choose between creating strong, positive teams or focusing on high performance and accountability. High-performance managers do both. They are strengths-based, engagement-focused, and performance-oriented. They develop deep interpersonal relationships with their employees and focus on performance.

Managers who emphasise one approach while ignoring the other risk alienating their team members, lowering engagement, and damaging performance".

Share This

Written by - Kelly Mordecai, OD Specialist, Tai Tarian

Date - 28/02/2018