With unemployment at an all-time low, people are careful in selecting their next employer. Workers today are said to be more confident than ever and ready to move on from their current employer. This has led to intensified efforts to create great places to work. But have we all gone too far?
According to the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business Review, Associates who are too engaged at work can exhibit negative trends such as burnout, cutting corners, low quality work, and uncalculated risk-taking. Ironically, all of these are symptoms that mirror the same traits of people who are actively disengaged in the workplace. The challenge seems to be that when engagement is at an all-time high and there is little regard for the Associate experience, their overall well-being can be negatively impacted.
Based on my research, I believe that if you focus on engagement without experience, over-engagement will occur. However, when engagement is coupled with experience the end result is passion, performance, and loyalty at work.
Perhaps the foremost experts on workplace engagement is the Gallup organization. They help define the levels of engagement as:
- Engaged: Associates who are loyal and psychologically committed to the organization.
- Not Engaged: Associates who might be productive, but are not psychologically
connected to their company.
- Actively Disengaged: Associates who are physically present but psychologically absent.
This formula means that narrowly focusing all of your efforts on engagement strategies can create the same symptoms you are hoping to avoid. Overly engaged Associates are said to be present, but mentally absent.
Up until now, the cure to the disease of over-engagement has been inadequate. For example, the Wall Street Journal recommended the following:
- Skip the emphasis on engagement through corporate social responsibility, which often takes place outside of an employee’s direct job description.
- Focus on engaging the unengaged rather than attempting to raise overall engagement numbers.
These suggestions are worthy of exploring further as they seem to imply that corporate social responsibility and giving back to the community only benefits the company – they do not. I believe you put yourself in a better position to succeed when you help other people do the same. Properly curated corporate responsibility experiences add value by helping develop the leader within. These curated events can develop a deepened sense of comradery and a heightened sense of well-being.
I also contend that fixating on weaknesses instead of strengths is a bad idea. Among other bodies of research, Gallup has offered us enough quantifiable data that moves us to manage anything that gets in the way of progress while focusing on what works well and is a strength. Even though we should focus on our strengths, we should never ignore a weakness. Ignoring a weakness will often lead to failure. We should manage them wisely while not dwelling on them.
A Comprehensive Approach to Impacting the Healthcare Industry
At Signature Performance, we believe in a more comprehensive approach to organizational culture. One that takes both engagement and experience data into consideration. While it may be uncommon, we serve an uncommon mission to provide an Associate experience unlike anything the healthcare industry has ever known. This means that driving engagement simply to pick up the extra effort and expendable time is not enough.
Our strategy is to position every Signature Associate in a way that frees them to use their strengths every day at work while feeling connected to our mission of service in the healthcare industry. We have always been a business outcome organization knowing the value and importance to the bottom line of our work. While we may be socially responsible, our Associates gain valuable leadership experience and education by leading, not just participating in corporate social responsibility efforts.
We measure uncommon data sets to make sure we are listening to how our engagement efforts are helping to improve the Associate experience. Our strategy is to help position our people and teams for success at work and in life. After all, when we can thrive at work, we are then set free to love our entire life.
Who is Signature Performance?
Signature Performance inhabits the intersection between payer and provider, government and community, cultivating an unmatched client experience providing healthcare administrative services. Our well-rounded expertise allows Signature to evaluate issues from multiple perspectives cultivating positive financial impact by creating greater efficiency and value to our clients.
The Experience team at Signature Performance, was formed to build and broaden efforts in attracting and retaining the best talent in the healthcare industry by leading the engagement efforts and producing unmatched credibility, communications, performance opportunities, and experiences for every Associate. Our goal is to positively impact our clients’ business and ultimately the healthcare industry.
Mark Mathia is the Chief Experience Officer at Signature Performance Inc., in Omaha, NE. Mathia is also a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. Signature Performance is an industry leader in reducing healthcare administration costs for private and public healthcare sectors. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.