Is Employee Engagement Even a Real Thing???

April 13th, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila


I recently read a GREAT article by Kim Monaghan, a career coach, on how exactly employee engagement grows and I can’t stop thinking about the great points she makes. It’s so important for team leaders to take it very seriously. When I speak to groups, teams, and individuals about how adventure travel contributes to happy, engaged employees, I often find that there is a very large segment of the corporate world that doesn’t have a clear idea of what that engagement really means and how it benefits businesses in major ways that can make or break their financial success. It seems like many feel that, yes, employee engagement is nice, but it’s not a priority that should be studied, measured, and fostered regularly.

Monaghan nails it when she says that “It’s important that we recognize the “realness” of employee engagement. It’s not just a state of mind, a fuzzy feeling or emotional blanket that keeps us warm in cool winter months. Employee engagement is a validated psychological state, often measured by increased performance and productivity amongst other positive business outcomes.” Yes, employee engagement is not just a feeling and keeping on top of it within your company can increase productivity.

It can also allow employees to feel enthused and comfortable enough to bring forward new and perhaps riskier ideas knowing that, as a team, they may be making improvements and breakthroughs that yield positive results.

Making personal breakthroughs that lead to professional ones is something we like to focus on during adventure team-building trips because taking risks as a team translates very naturally back into the office environment. White-water rafting, for example, is a group event that, while involving a certain amount of risk, results in major clarity and cohesiveness for everyone. They have worked hard together to reach a goal and do something many would have doubted they could accomplish if they hadn’t been pushed a bit out of their comfort zone.

Engaged employees also care deeply about the company’s vision, so much so that they invest their all into seeing it grow and develop successfully. What if you sense that your employees are not really passionate about the vision and you want to do something about it? A vision centered adventure may be just the trip that gets everyone not only on the same page, but enthusiastic as a group wanting to make a difference. Believing in the vision is foundational to making it a reality and focused programs are a great way to bond a team emotionally and mentally so they will be ever more engaged.

Monaghan later states: “Employees are happy and satisfied when thoughtfully engaged in their work and provided with a healthy environment in which to do so. As a result, profits increase, turnover decreases, and key talent is attracted and retained.” Considering the fact that failing to retain an employee generally costs a company a year’s salary to replace the loss is reason alone to focus on how better to engage employees from the time they’re hired throughout the promotional process. Retention is a natural result of engagement and we find that the bonding and transformations that take place on adventure trips hold a team together for years to come as long as their leadership was openly involved in the activities and continues to foster engagement along the way. They see the importance of recognizing achievements, progress, and the value each person brings to the table and communicating that regularly.

So yes, employee engagement is real, measurable, and vital to the long term success of any company. At Alaska to Africa Travel we are passionate about helping companies engage their employees with our intimate team building and leadership training trips. We know the greatest investment companies can make is in their employees’ happiness because the results are so profound. If you’d like to see how your company could benefit from our adventure travel programs, please let know. We can work with you to design a trip that will change lives help your business to thrive for years to come.

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