Have you heard of the engagement vampires? (Whisper the name!) You might think these beings are a myth created by companies who have no reward and recognition practices built into their business culture, but engagement vampires can lurk in any business, regardless of how much effort you’re putting in.

Here’s how to spot them.

Glass half empty
The world is made up of pessimists and optimists – with most people thinking they are a realist. An engagement vampire is a glass half empty type, always focusing on the failure, inadequacy or weakness of any initiative. Implement a wellbeing incentive and they’ll point out that it’s discriminatory against their health. Propose a new sales target and they’ll bemoan its lack of feasibility. They seem to be able to sap the fun out of any scheme or reward.

Always in company
Engagement vampires don’t like to travel alone and they are keen to get people on side. Yu can spot them at water coolers and on breaks, pointing out where the company is going wrong and how much they hate the senior management. Even people who are quite happy can easily become sucked into a negative way of thinking with too much exposure to an engagement vampire.

Better on their own
Just like holy water or bright lights, a one to one meeting is the antidote to the engagement vampire’s tactics. In a simple meeting room, they can be easily disarmed. A few questions that bring the power to change back to them – ‘How can we make it better?’ and ‘How can you improve this for yourself’ can take the sting out of their campaign of negativity.

A dying breed
Engagement vampires will always exist, but they can be conquered. Catering for the minority members of your business who will never be won over with rewards, incentives or recognition can be a fruitless task, and spas precious energy from the majority of people who are looking for perks and appreciation. Focus on developing the programme that best fits your business. Stick to your one to one meetings to question negative attitudes when appropriate – all the while remembering to reward great behaviour with attention. If one, or a pack of engagement vampires are still sucking the life out of your business culture, perhaps it’s time for them to move on elsewhere.