The HR profession is misguided in its use of the term engagement and the various practices surrounding it. You don’t suppose it’s an accident that Engagement emerged as a magic cure all potion in the heart of the downturn. It’s not really a surprise that a process that encourages ‘discretionary’ labor would pop up after a national layoff carnival. Is it really that strange that employees are less connected to their work after their comrades have been summarily executed? In practice, engagement programs set workaholism as an ideal.
The truth is that most people work to live. They go to work to finance the rest of their lives. They are happy to deliver professional results to the best of their capability if the system will let them. But they will never see the company as the heart of their existence nor will they derive the bulk of their self esteem from thier work.