Employee Engagement on the Inca Trail

October 11, 2013

Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Peru and complete the 43 km Inca Trail into Machu Picchu. It was, for this casual hiker, a test of endurance and mental toughness that without the right team in place wouldn't have been possible. The complexity of the 4-day hike requires a support staff, which for my group of four hikers, included a cook, guide and six porters to carry tents, food, and supplies for the trip.

Brilliant Ink’s recent Employee Experience Survey assessed employee engagement in four dimensions: satisfaction, advocacy, retention and pride in their work. I hadn't focused on it initially, but as my trip progressed, I realized that these same dimensions appeared to resonate with our crew as well. As I talked with the staff, I learned that they really seemed to like what they did for a living. It was through advocacy that this team had gotten together – the cook knew three of the porters from his mountain village, another was the cousin of one the porters. The crew was motivated by their pay, but also by the chance to see a trail that few Peruvians take. The sense of pride in their work and the opportunity to show a part of their country to non-Peruvian visitors was evident in their excitement as they enthusiastically shared their culture. A high level of engagement appears to be important no matter where on Earth a person finds herself.

Clearly, the porters were inspired enough by their friend to join the crew, and the entire staff wanted to create a magical Inca Trail journey for my group.  It didn't matter that we didn't always understand each other. The fact is, when someone is engaged in their job and feels they play a vital role in their organization, the excitement is overwhelming – even at 4125 meters up in the Andes Mountains!

Brilliant Ink

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