There is no way to employee engagement,
employee engagement is the way.
The above statement is a rewrite of Zen monk, Thich Nhat Hahn’s, dictum: There is no way to peace, peace is the way.
The opening statement about employee engagement is a central theme of this website. Three times a week you will encounter an eclectic collection of articles on employee engagement. You will read a plethora of perspectives on engagement, from strength based leadership to ZENgagement.
There are many possible forks in the road on the multiple pathways to engagement – I am not trying to confound or confuse you. I want to acknowledge the complexity of employee engagement and honor the many paths to employee engagement.
Last week the Gallup Management Journal published an article with this exact title by Jennifer Robison, Many Paths to Engagement. I have utmost respect for Gallup’s extensive work on employee engagement and I was very pleased to see the parallel nature of our perspectives.
Jennifer began her article with a reference to Buddhist philosophy:
Some Buddhists believe that there are many paths to enlightenment, as many paths as there are seekers. Business philosophy, however, considers that idea problematic. Business leaders don’t want many paths to enlightenment, or in their case, to business results like employee engagement and the benefits it brings. They want one simple, straight, predictable path. When it comes to employee engagement, though, Buddhist thought is probably closer to the truth. There isn’t a perfect path to engagement, a single route that passes from manager to employee to performance to productivity to profit. There are as many effective ways to manage people to attain high performance as there are great managers…
Click here to read the article on how very different management and leadership styles can achieve high levels of employee engagement at Mars, Inc.
Here is part of the conclusion of the article:
So after all that number crunching, behavioral analysis, systematic examination, and simple questioning, Schulte (from Mars Inc.) found the key to great management — great managers. The path to enlightenment, or rather, engagement, ends where it begins.
What does this mean for employee engagement leaders.
We need to understand the complexity of employee engagement.
We need to understand our own strengths and styles.
We need to fully understand the people we lead.
We must give up the pursuit of a simple one-size-fits-all answer to employee engagement.
We must get on the path and be prepared to change paths.
We must know in our hearts: there is no way to employee engagement, employee engagement is the way.
Photo Credit: Cliché by http://flickr.com/photos/mayr/372933549/
David Zinger writes about the plethora of pathways to employee engagement.