Being engaged at work is not the same as being productive


Popular belief says that the happier and more engaged an employee is, the more fulfilled they will feel in their job role and the more productive they’ll be.

Companies invest a great deal of time and money trying to understand and define what engages their employees, and how they can use this engagement to develop a more productive workforce. But more recent research has highlighted that engagement doesn’t always lead to productivity.

Engagement is subjective

One of the difficulties with linking engagement to productivity is that the criteria to measure engagement is often ambiguous, and more often than not is based on a wide range of things – usually including feeling-based responses.

For example, questions around engagement often ask whether the individual is satisfied in their job, or whether they’d recommend the business as a good place to work. These are very subjective, emotive questions which can produce a range of answers. Consider the person responding is indeed very satisfied in their job, but they might be concerned that promoting their role could create competition for themselves, as other people look to join the business.

They might be engaged with the company, but not willing to proactively impact its growth – which would be considered a productive action.

How do we measure productivity?

It’s similarly difficult to measure productivity, unless the person has a clear set of metrics to work towards. In accounting and finance, for example, a member of staff would be measured upon departmental efficiency – the time it takes for the finance department to process the requests of the rest of the business – cash flow management and efficiency improvement.

However productivity itself is difficult to measure, and can lead to conflicting definitions. For example, if one member of your finance team is responsible for processing invoicing from the procurement team – which work out as large orders, potentially spanning several currencies – they will take longer to complete their work than a colleague responsible for more simple transactions. This doesn’t mean either person is any less or more productive than the other.

Measuring the time someone spends at work also doesn’t necessarily give an insight into their productivity. A person could be in the office for seven hours and fully complete everything required of them, and someone could be there for nine hours and spend more than half of that time being inefficient.


With such a lack of clarity about effectively measuring engagement and productivity, it seems both should be given individual criteria based on the results you wish to see from your team and ultimately measure.

If you’re looking to build an efficient, productive finance team and you’re based in Nottingham or Manchester, we’d love to discuss your requirements with you. BTG Recruitment is a trusted partner, providing our clients with expert accountancy and finance professionals to enhance their teams.

We are a experts in accountancy and finance recruitment and pride ourselves on being able to adapt our service to suit your unique needs, so that we collaborate to find the best possible solution to your recruitment requirements. Contact us today on 0115 960 7000 for a confidential discussion.

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