We tend to talk about employee engagement in absolute terms, as if it was wholly achievable, but nothing could be further from the truth.
100% engagement is a complete and utter myth
It is simply unattainable.
Not everyone is going to love what they do all the time; telling them otherwise is irresponsible and a downright lie. It does little more than build an unrealistic expectation of what is attainable.
Even Batman has to be Bruce Wayne
The harsh reality of the working world is that some of what we all do sucks. Case in point, I love traveling and meeting new people, but I hate having to fill out expense reports.
But, overall am I satisfied?
And that, my friends, is perhaps what we should all be striving for. Yes, it may lose some of its luster but being “engaged on average” is most likely the honest and logical endpoint of engagement efforts. At the very least it is a step forward from where the majority of public servants find themselves today.
And that's okay
Because employee expectations shift over time. They are based on the zeitgeist, comparable (employment) market conditions, past experiences, and personal preferences.
That's simply called progress, and I don't know about you but I'll take progress over complacency any day.