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James Quinn

GRASP. Learning & Development

Learning & OD Consultant

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Motivation vs Engagement


Hi All

I've recently been writing a report on learning in my organisation and found myself discussing motivation and engagement as if they were one in the same.

On reflection I wonder if this is the case or if there are distinct differences between the two?

Also, who's responsibility is it to either motivate or engage employees? It is HR or Management or perhaps, both?

I'd be interested to hear some different takes on it.



5 Responses

  1. Hi James, what a great
    Hi James, what a great question. My thought on this is that they are absolutely different and that you could have motivated employees that aren’t engaged.
    To me, engagement is about feeling so profoundly committed to the aims and ambitions of the organisation that you are happy to put in an amount of discretionary effort. Hopefully that might create motivation but not always.
    For example, in my previous company, we had no direction, support or engagement from the senior team (who I reported into) after we lost all of our funding (we were a charity), despite this, I went out of my way to try to gain new funding even though it wasn’t actually my job – I was the only one who was doing it because there was no vision or strategy or encouragement from above – it was totally my own motivation, i felt totally disengaged.
    In terms of engagement what it shouldn’t be is a project that’s run based on engagement surveys and action plans that never quite happen. It should just be the way that things are done around here. Who should do it? Well, anyone with influence – that could be different for different orgs but managers or HR are too narrow a view. It could be someone on a team who has a good deal of knowledge, for example and who can influence others because of it.
    Hope that helps but be keen to hear what others think.

  2. Hi James
    Hi James
    I agree very much with Clive’s response except that engagement IS the responsibility of senior management…if senior management don’t understand and make the effort to engage people then whatever engagement does occur is by accident and may well not be to the organisation and its values.
    This little video might help
    I’ve just completed a big project on the topic

    1. Hi Rus; just for the record;
      Hi Rus; just for the record; I agree about senior managers – I didn’t say senior managers weren’t repsonsible for engagement, I said that in that one Org I worked for, senior managers weren’t engaging. My point though is that it isn’t just the senior managers that have to engage; it’s everyone with influence.

      1. Clive, sorry I must have read
        Clive, sorry I must have read something else and got my wires crossed!
        An interesting point is that IF senior managers don’t engage people, they will engage with someone….that could be their favourite football team or it could be an influential person in their company who is going off the rails or setting up in competition!

        1. no worries. I quite like the
          no worries. I quite like the MacLeod & Clarke concept of engagement; particularly the stuff about strategy being visceral. Not something that’s just talked about but something that’s real and can be experienced too.

Author Profile Picture
James Quinn

Learning & OD Consultant

Read more from James Quinn

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