July 2, 2020 | watsimp

Is Employee Engagement an Art or a Science?

I was once reviewing the employee engagement scores with a business leader. He had sliced and diced the data in many different ways, talked to his team to plan the next steps & was frustrated with the outcome. Totally exasperated, he said to me “This is a waste of time! Employee engagement can’t be achieved by just looking at data! It’s an Art!”

Another time, a HR Business Partner friend of mine, talked about the need for employee engagement to be more data driven. She was of the belief that – only what is measured and tracked gets done. She was advocating for more technology, more data, more analysis and more monitoring of actions to drive engagement. She truly believed that employee engagement is a science. Something that can be achieved with the right “tuning” of the various aspects that influenced engagement!

So what is Employee Engagement? Art of Science?

Employee Engagement is a Science

Employee Engagement can be measured, tracked and improved

Specific factors influence engagement

Factors that influence engagement can be dialed up or down through policies, processes and trackable actions

Many aspects of engagement can be automated/ driven by technology

At the same time, Employee Engagement is an Art

Employee Engagement is the result of how organizations in general and leaders and managers in particular affect and influence employees

Leading and Managing people is an art!

Metrics can show what needs to be improved, but “how it is done” is dependent on the leader and manager

Different things work for different employees and teams. It requires human cognition to sense this and act accordingly

The best organizations that are able to achieve high employee engagement have discovered, that it is a combination of Art & Science! Science in the way they use technology to measure, track and identify key metrics, factors that influence engagement and coach managers. Art, in the human approach of the leader and manager and how this directly touches the employee. A delicate and perfect balance that takes time and effort to achieve!

People who have seen Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” know that it holds our attention longer than most paintings. To accomplish the allure, da Vinci carefully engineered the iconic portrait by meticulously studying the muscles and nerves of the face.

Just like the greatest painting was the result of the fusion of art & science, so is Employee Engagement! It is always the result of the perfect fusion of Art & Science!

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