Tuesday Talk: Performing versus Engaged Employees

Get Smarter Videos - Dec 8, 2016

Chris Bachinski
Leadership & Culture

Chris Bachinski describes the difference between an engaged and a performing employee and how they can impact your organization.


Who would you rather have working for you, an engaged employee or a performing employee? Most of us would say we want both, we want both an engaged employee and a performing employee. What’s the difference?

A performing employee comes to work to get. They give, but their purpose is to get. They may like the organization, they like the salary, they even might like the location of the organization, it’s not a far drive to work. But their purpose is they come to work to get.

What about the engaged employee? You see, they come to work to give. They’re very connected, that their job, their role, their department is making a difference. Maybe it’s just within the company, or it’s outside the company. Their primary purpose is to come to work to give. They’ve got bills to pay, so they come to give, but they get. They get a paycheck, but that’s not what satisfies them.

Most of us would want a performing, engaged employee. That’s an easy decision. But what if we have a disengaged performing employee? What would you do? You see, a disengaged performing employee can be a like a virus within an organization. It can cause damage to others around them, it can cause disengagement to people around them. They can become like a cancer within the organization. What would you do?

What if you had an engaged employee who wasn’t quite performing? They are motivated, they try, they bring energy, they’re committed; however, their performance is just not quite where it should be. What would you do with that?

Your performing employee who’s disengaged, you’d have a very candid conversation with them. Sit them down and say, “I like your performance. However, you leave a path of destruction behind you and we can’t tolerate that any longer.” It’s hard to change an attitude, so you might want to say to them, “Go to a movie, take the weekend, come back and let us know if you can be engaged.” If they come back and say, “I am who I am, I can’t change,” then free them up for the industry. You’ll be better off without them.

What about our engaged employee who’s just not quite performing? Sit them down, too. Commend them for their level of engagement and their commitment. Show them the gaps in the performance, and invest in them to help them become both performing and engaged. Give them time. Give them a year to get their performance where it needs to be.

Engaged, performing employees are what moves our organizations forward. Look around your own organization. Who do you have working for you? Engaged performing employees, or performing employees who are disengaged and causing challenges? Then ask yourself, what are you going to do with them?

To discuss performing versus engaged employees further, contact our team at (503) 789-1338 or [email protected].