Employee Engagement Lesson From Pamukkale, Turkey: Not Everything is as it Seems

As a Canadian I tend to believe that everything that is white is snow or ice.


While in Turkey this November, my wife and I visited Pamukkale. Pamukkale means cotton castle. It seemed that we were back in Canada near a glacier. Yet, this was a deception caused by the white terraces composed of travertine,  a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs.  This was not the cold glacial water I have experienced in Canada — this was warm water from the hot springs.

To bring this back to the field of employee engagement, it is important to remember that not everything is as it seems. Sometimes surveys don’t just measure engagement they disengage employees and create cynicism. We sometimes create discouragement when we keep broadcasting that our workplace is a great place to work when we know even great workplaces are not great for everyone.

Sometimes we condone disengagement by not having conversations – disengagement should be a trigger for a conversation not a punishable offence. Sometimes we say we want engagement but we fail to devote any time, resources, or energy to improving engagement.

Leaders can be like kids in the candy store who want to eat everything, including the cotton candy, even though there is no more room to eat another bite of anything. In a world where we have gone from doing more with less to everything with nothing we must carefully consider what we can fully work on with our limited time.

The next time you look at employee engagement in your organization, or for yourself, take a second careful look because not everything is as it seems.

David Zinger is a global employee engagement expert and speaker who recently completed his fourth book, People Artists: Drawing Out the Best in Others.

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