Employee engagement. Art or science?

posted by Scott McKenzie

At school I was so bad at art my teacher allowed me to take the mandatory once-per-week class as free time. Honestly.

Of course this may be more of a reflection on the  Comprehensive School education I received than my own lack of talent for the subject. But probably not.

Over the years I’ve tried to develop my appreciation for art. My partner Sarah has a real interest in the subject. So we have spent time at various galleries and museums over the years trying to fill the gap in my education. We’re Tate members and I’m particularly fond of the Rothko room at the Tate Modern.

My knowledge of science is equally shaky. Like most humanities students the last time I spent any serious time in a lab was when I was 16. And much of what I learnt in GCSE Physics is sadly lost to history. Much of what I have re-learnt about the subject can be attributed to Ben Goldacre ’s great book “Bad Science“. I would heartily recommend it.

So when I heard someone pose the question last week “Employee engagement. Art or science?” I was slightly confused. 

To my mind it is both and neither. It borrows from art in some respects in terms of the creative process. And we’re working hard as a profession to quantify and qualify what we do by adding more measurement. But we’re not exactly scientific.

I think the real polemic is not about art or science. It’s really about intuition versus measurement.

People like me will bang on about the importance of measurement. And I’d be right. But it’s equally important to listen to what your instincts are telling you.

In my experience they’re often right.

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