What do you think comes first?  Employee engagement or higher performance?  Are the members of your high performing teams engaged because that’s the team they’re on?  Or is their performance better because they’re highly engaged in the company’s mission or purpose?

This is a critical question for many of us.  Could it make a difference for your organization?   In a study of 2,178 companies it was found that "engagement predicts performance in key areasincluding customer engagement, employee retention, sales, and profit—better than performance predicts engagement (p. 155)."  So the questions might be, "How engaged are your employees?"  or "What causes employee engagement?"


I’m finding Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter to be very helpful on this front and it’s particularly good in combination with Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow.

Engagement or Performance: What Comes First?
  • Although it is a little ‘chicken and egg’ I firmly believe that engagement is the precursor to sustained high performance. The unfortunate thing is that so many struggling firms think that the solution is to work harder – rather than creating some slack time, increasing engagement, and wathcing things turn around.
    However I have seen this happen again and again, while I have rarely (NEVER) seen an organisation find success through simply working harder.

  • Thanks for the insight Mike! You’re dead on.
    It is tough, isn’t it? The commitment to the things that produce engagement takes precious time and energy. Tough to re-allocate when the chips are down. Better to allocate in advance.

  • In full agreement!
    I even extend the integration to look and feel like this:
    Engagement > Performance > Results/Success.

  • Yes! That’s exactly right! It is Engagement>Performance>Results/Success. Great observation. Thanks Tim!