Employee Engagement and the Tree of Life

All new trees begin with just a seed. Once planted, its roots begin to grow underground and spread. The naked eye can’t perceive the vast and growing roots; we can only focus on the tree trunk, branches or leaves. What’s invisible to us from eye level is how the tree has manifested itself underground and whether or not there is an ailment stunting it’s growth. If there is a disease impacting its roots, we won’t know that until something else happens to help surface the problem. Before the tree can be treated and hopefully saved, we need to know the exact cause of the problem.

Disengagement is a lot like a sick tree. On the surface, our physical attributes might show a happy, satisfied person, but underneath, at our roots, those things that support us and keep us steady and strong, there’s something dreadfully wrong and spreading discontent and malaise throughout our physical being. To understand and handle the feeling of disengagement, we must be able to start at the roots for the underlying cause to truly be able to heal.

It’s pretty common to see disengaged people smiling on the outside while simultaneously feeling enormous pain on the inside. We’ve all become masters of disguise, whether at work or with our loved ones. We’ve become conditioned to the cycle and it can be a great coping mechanism. The problem is, like our tree of life, one day it will shed its leaves, lose its color and vibrancy and eventually die. Unfortunately, we can’t hide behind the smile forever.

Disengagement doesn’t just show up one day on a whim. There are usually one or more factors that have a bearing on this issue and cause it to rear its ugly head. Disengagement is not a sudden or overnight experience. It occurs over a period of time and slowly eats away at the passion you have for your job until there is none left. Many of the causes of disengagement are naturally linked together, but you don’t need to experience all of them to become a target of the disengagement disease; even one can cause your roots to rot.