Unknown-6Sure, the stats from Gallup say that employee engagement causes results but instead:

  • Maybe results cause engagement.
  • Maybe there is only a correlation between the two because the real issue is hiring the right people.
  • Maybe this only works for big corporations.

Right now all I’m prepared to say is that sometimes employees are engaged and sometimes companies get good results.

Take for instance the case of a startup that is really making great progress. Sales are booming and growing rapidly, profit is growing in leaps and bounds and the supposed valuation of the company must be going through the roof.

But if you ask people there about engagement, they might answer Gallup’s questions all wrong.

  • It is likely that there are lots of times they don’t really know what they’re doing as these situations are frequently fraught with ambiguity.
  • If they’re starved for cash, they likely don’t have the materials and equipment they really need.
  • They are doing all sorts of jobs, but maybe not the ones they do best.
  • The atmosphere may be tense and not filled with moments for praise.
  • They might be too new to have formed a caring relationship with their manager or have a best friend at work.
  • No one would have time to be concerned with their personal development, talk to them about progress or train them.

In answering no to most of the questions they would score low on engagement and yet the company would be showing great results. And maybe there is even a case to be made that they are really engaged but that these questions are unable to measure that engagement.

So maybe Gallup doesn’t have all the answers about employee engagement and we should treat their work with a bit of caution.

Me, I’m heading out to research more on the subject, trying to find out in the knowledge economy whether leadership practices are related in any way to engagement and whether engagement is related in any way to results.

If you want to be part of the research or know anyone who might, let me know as I am eager to meet new research participants.

By the way, the image is courtesy of http://www.peopleinsight.co.uk/ who were kind enough to let me use it.