What Employee Engagement is NOT

Dispelling widely held, misguided beliefs

what employee engagement is
what employee engagement is

In a world of misguided beliefs and urban legends, online sites like Snopes.com are a niche resource for truthtellers. The story of Van Gogh slicing off his ear? Actually, it was only part¹. Vikings and horned helmets? Although they may have worn headgear, horns weren’t an embellishing feature².  The subject of employee engagement is no stranger to widely held erroneous beliefs either.

Myth Buster #1

Employee satisfaction and employee engagement are one and the same


A quick online “employee satisfaction” search brings up oodles of theories and observations more plentiful than mosquitoes at a bog. Volumes critique the benefits or irrelevancies of employee satisfaction on workplace output.  While contented employees may like their work, an individual’s satisfaction doesn’t imply better performance on the job. In fact, there’s negligible evidence, if any, showing a concrete correlation between satisfaction and performance.

Winning the minds and hearts of employees is another question altogether. Engaged employees are statistically, scientifically proven to be more emotionally invested in the success of their organization. They have a more objective, logical approach to their function, fit and how their career aspirations can be achieved alongside the performance of their employer.  Going above and beyond, performing at the summit of their skill set – and then some – truly sets the engaged employee apart from a satisfied one.


Employee job satisfaction = satisfactory work.

Employee engagement = invested high-level performance.

Myths & Misconceptions #2

Engagement isn’t high on the employee “To Be” list


What a sad state of affairs for people to show up for work, present but not really there, thinking of dozens of other places they’d rather be.  How many times have you been told, or said to others: “do what you love and the rest will fall into place.”  Can you imagine spending 90-thousand hours of your lifetime doing something you dislike? That’s the estimated amount of time the average person spends at work. ¹ Yikes.

what employee engagement is not

It’s a natural human yearning to be needed and appreciated. Of course, employees want to be engaged, to know their contribution is valued, that their innovative ideas are welcomed and their performance makes a positive difference; to emotionally and logically know their personal career and financial goals can develop and grow alongside the development and growth of their organization. Being engaged in the job and workplace is what makes getting up and going to work meaningful.

Myth Buster #3

No need to re-engage engaged employees

So not true.

Imagine what might happen to an enthusiastic, newly betrothed couple if each went off like lone ships sailing separate courses, failing to check in to make sure the other is on course headed in the same direction. Neglecting to support one another when uncertainties present.  The connection to one another may waver and wain, right? Not a good omen for future marital bliss.

Likewise, enthusiasm for a new job, a challenging promotion, or an exciting new project just isn’t sustainable without the presence and encouragement of the organization in all its dimensions. Regardless of whether they’re long-timers or new hires engaged employees need regular check-in and support to continue to feel connected. An organization’s commitment to employee engagement evaluations is an ongoing process necessary for enduring employee/employer connection.

Myths & Misconceptions #4

Employee engagement is the sole responsibility of managers/supervisors


Successful employee engagement engages the whole of an organization.  John Donne’s 1624 Devotion, “no man is an island, entire of itself…”² applies to organizations large and small. Employee engagement is a collective vision and effort that crosses all departments and levels of responsibility. Members of the board and the executive leadership team, frontline staff and all people in between are necessary collaborators in the creation and conservation of an engaged and engaging culture.

Have you encountered other myths and misconceptions around the subject of employee engagement within your organization? Share your story

Interested in learning more about actions you can take in your organization?

Webinar Library

Helping Management Better Connect with Employees: The Importance of Connecting with People

By Norm Baillie-David | October 9, 2018

Webinar | Join the growing conversation around the importance of building an engaging management team that connects with your employees.

Building Healthy Workplaces: How to Create an Effective Mental Health Strategy

By Norm Baillie-David | September 7, 2018

Webinar | For Mental Illness Awareness Week, CAMH joined TalentMap to discuss what HR leaders should consider when building a workplace mental health strategy.

What Effective Employee Engagement Looks Like in Local Governments

By Natalie Verania | July 25, 2018

Webinar | Absenteeism and general disengagement have long been associated with civil servants. Studies suggest they can be attributed to a litany of factors. Watch the webinar to learn more.

How to Recruit, Engage, and Retain the Right Talent with Employer Branding

By Natalie Verania | July 11, 2018

Webinar | How do you pique the interest of amazing candidates – the type of talent you want to attract? Watch the webinar to learn how employer branding feeds recruitment, engagement, and retention.

How Employee Engagement Can Reduce Presenteeism and Absenteeism

By Norm Baillie-David | June 13, 2018

Webinar | Loss of workplace productivity results from employee health problems and/or personal issues like family illness or stress. Learn how to reduce presenteeism and absenteeism during TalentMap’s webinar.

Employee Recognition: How to Promote Praise and Influence Engagement in the Workplace

By Norm Baillie-David | May 11, 2018

Webinar | A well-executed employee recognition program is one piece of the foundation that creates long-lasting, sustainable engagement within organizations. TalentMap joins forces with Kudos to discuss recognition strategies and tools to boost engagement.

Handling Verbatim Comments in Your Engagement Survey: How to Walk the Tightrope Between Insight and Confidentiality

By Norm Baillie-David | May 4, 2018

Webinar | Open-ended survey questions give organizations a deeper glimpse at how employees think. These verbatim comments are a goldmine of information. But how can confidentiality be assured?

Redefining Professional Growth in a Re-Imagined Work World

By Norm Baillie-David | March 27, 2018

Webinar | TalentMap’s Senior Consultant, David Ang, discusses what professional growth means to today’s employees who have vastly different work expectations due to technology advances and market demands.

Employee Engagement in Higher Education: A Tough Lesson to Learn

By Norm Baillie-David | March 22, 2018

Webinar | Higher education institutions have above average employee engagement challenges — even more so with safety considerations around gun violence and the #MeToo campaign. Watch the webinar recording to learn more about the state of employee engagement in higher education.

Job Purposing and Employee Engagement: Crafting Meaningful Work for Employees

By Norm Baillie-David | February 12, 2018

Webinar | Norm Baillie-David, SVP at TalentMap and Bea Boccalandro, President at VeraWorks, discuss how job purposing can heighten employee engagement, performance, and wellbeing.

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