Increasing work engagement has become a mantra for companies looking to get the most from its employees.
When employees are engaged at work, academic research shows, they tend to stay longer on the job and are more productive, self-motivated and happier coming to the office. Engaged employees are also more likely to see their job as a calling and derive deeper meaning from day-to-day work.
But you can have too much of a good thing, and job engagement is no exception, The Wall Street Journal reports.
New research shows that employees who are too engaged are likely to have difficulties in their personal lives and may take part in actions that negatively affect the company. In addition, such workers can become more difficult to manage over time and produce worse results.
Deeply engaged employees who become more difficult to manage can be overly demanding of superiors and become suspicious of their intentions, says Stuart Bunderson, professor of organizational ethics and governance at Washington University in St. Louis.
The professor studied managers five years after receiving their M.B.A. degrees and found that the most engaged employees displayed similar qualities. A “higher sense of moral duty” makes it tougher for them to respect deadlines or work in a team, he says.
So what can companies do to have healthy levels of work engagement, without crossing the line into excessive levels? Ease up, some researchers say.
One suggestion is that companies should skip the emphasis on engaging workers through corporate social responsibility, which often takes place outside of an employee’s direct job description. Read the full story.