I recently read a post on employee engagement [here] which includes the video below.  While the categories don’t necessarily appeal to the author of the post, and I wouldn’t necessarily advocate labeling people in the workplace, the thoughts described in the video provide interesting points to consider in the work we do.

While not focused on education, one can draw connections to the work of district leaders, school administrators, and teachers.

The video explains that success is defined by organization and business goals.  How well you achieve these goals is defined by performance.

Individuals provide high contribution in a successful organization.  At the same time, employees (executives, managers, staff) are on a path of their own personal definition of success, and looking for maximum personal satisfaction.

What employees want to get (satisfaction) and are prepared to give (contribution) intersect.  There are different levels of satisfaction and different levels of contribution and, as a result, different levels of engagement.

The “5 levels of engagement” outlined in the video and described in the post are:

Engaged:  These employees are contributing fully to the success of the organization and find great satisfaction in their work. They apply discretionary effort and take initiative.

(High on satisfaction & high on Contribution)

Almost Engaged:  These employees are reasonably satisfied with their jobs and are among the highest performers.

(In the centre. Decent performers and reasonably satisfied.)

Honeymooners & Hamsters:  Honeymooners are new to the organization or role and have yet to become fully productive. Hamsters may be working hard but focused on the wrong things — or they may be hardly working. The outcome is the same: maximum satisfaction for them and minimum satisfaction for the organization.

(High on satisfaction, but not fully contributing)

Crash & Burners:  This group is the opposite of the one above. They are high performers, delivering what the organization needs, but disillusioned or not achieving their personal definition of success.

(Great results, but not getting what they want.  Will quit or pull back on their contributions – quit and stay.)

Disengaged:  Disengaged employees are the most disconnected from organizational priorities and are not getting what they want from their work.

(Low on satisfaction and contribution)

The video emphasizes that creating a more engaged workplace:

  • can’t be solved with a survey and a few organizational wide initiatives.
  • is not the sole job of Executives and Managers
  • must be a daily priority
  • is a shared responsibility – team approach (executives, managers,
    and individuals)

The video outlines the following roles:

Individuals must “ACT

  • Assess own goals & satisfaction drivers – What does success look like?
  • Communicate w/ Managers – aspirations, needs, & what the organization needs from them
  • Take Action – need help, guidance, but they own their engagement

Managers must “CARE” about engagement

  • Coach for performance and development
  • Align priorities, interests, & talents w/ organization goals
  • Recognize achievements & effort
  • Engage selves & individual team members about what matters for the organization and them

Executives (Sr. Leaders) must model, lead by example, set the tone, and make their “CASE” for engagement

  • foster sense of Community
  • be Authentic in what they say & do
  • provide Significance to aims of organization & help employees find meaning in the work they do
  • build Excitement to move the organization forward

By making engagement an important part of the organization – a daily occurrence rather than an event – a culture of engagement that drives performance helps individuals achieve ambitions and satisfaction, and also contributes to organizational success.

I need to continue to consider engagement in my current role working with members of the department, but also in the way our department supports school administrators and staff.

What does all this mean to you in your work as a:

  • District Administrator/Leader with district staff and building administrators and staff?
  • School Administrator with staff and students?
  • Department Leader with colleagues?
  • Teacher with the students in your class?




(photo credit: cityyear via photo pin cc)


One Comment on “Engagement”

  1. Thielmann says:

    The 5 levels of engagement are interesting. They seem to assume that the organization is not dysfunctional, and deserves the trade-off of personal for corporate engagement. The levels also rely on the premise that the success of the organization is easily defined and measured, mutually understood and worthwhile. It is quite possible for employees to be highly engaged in practices which are successful for worthwhile goals that may run counter to the perceived goals of the organization. This is especially important in organizations that have set low standards or have poorly understood goals. In these cases, organizational disengagement may be a necessary first step towards organizational improvement. If the organization is closed off to meaningful change, employees will invest their energy into other contributions that pay off. It is these “disruptive” examples that often deliver the high quality examples missing from a dysfunctional organization.

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