Membership engagement is a big deal around here because it’s a key component to healthy, thriving, growing associations. So imagine our surprise when we checked in with David Patt’s blog and saw that Associations Now reported a study from Leadership IQ stating that job performance and employee engagement don’t necessarily go hand in hand!

Well then.

Are your engaged members the most productive? Vice versa?

Mark Murphy, the CEO of Leadership IQ says in his white paper that low performers are more likely to report that they are “motivated to give 100% effort at work” and more likely to recommend their organization as a “great place to work.”

Meanwhile, high performers who make it a habit to regularly turn out great work tend to go unrecognized and low performers receive positive reinforcement. 

Okay. THERE’S the explanation.

In this study, high performers also reported that they felt less in control of their careers. Well no wonder high performers are less engaged. It could be that they’re unhappy!

Does your association have this problem? Do your higher performing volunteers fail to see where they could excel within your association, or is their interaction limited?

Consider this: the hostess at the party often has the least fun, because she’s running around making sure everyone else is comfortable, all the chips are refreshed, etc. Are your hardest working volunteers trapped in a “hostess” role? Be sure to give them a chance to have fun at events, as well as empower them with the leadership and charge of organizing and planning if they should volunteer. You can do both!

The key to all of this, according to Mark Murphy is communication, and we tend to agree. Be sure to take some time to praise your high achievers, and get as much feed back from them as the lower achievers. Also be candid. What would they like to see? Even if it’s new, a pattern of transparency will be appreciated.  

It’s an interesting phenomenon that higher achievers tend to be less engaged, when it seems like the opposite would be true. Take a moment and examine your volunteers, members, and leadership carefully, and make some moves to fix what needs fixing to maximize 

Another big shout out to David Patt, Associations Now, and for the inspiration!