I’ve posted along these lines before, but because the hot topic of engagement doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon, it’s worth a refresh–and this brief article from Forbes online make the point again.
Businesses seek engaged employees because the unleashed energy will drive the business farther and faster. But the focus and energy of engagement aren’t the same thing as “happiness.” If anything, they’re more like “hope.”
As the article mentions, one more team lunch at Olive Garden won’t do the trick, probably because that lunch will be seen as 1) the shallow gesture it is and 2) the time spent now means I’ll be getting home later. So much for happiness. People get energized about their work when they can see that their best efforts can make an important difference: product quality, business reputation, recognition, pay, new opportunities (and no, you can’t add “you get to keep your job” to that list). People have to be hopeful their increased energy and investment will pay off for them.