After interviewing several hundred people for a new facility, I was struck by how miserable so many of those people were with their current situation. Maybe they thought that we would take into account their current dissatisfaction in considering their candidacy, because they told us how they felt. This caused me to approach the local community college about doing a workshop called “Love Your Job – Strategies to Move from Coping to Caring”.
I never got to deliver it. Not enough people signed up. I decided that maybe some people just want to be miserable at work.
In every employee orientation I’ve ever done, I have stressed the importance of engagement, and reminded people that in order for the company to be truly successful, we need to all be engaged. And if you aren’t feeling engaged, you need to speak up and help get that fixed.
There is no doubt in my mind that the elements that Kruse lays out in this book are a better strategy than I would have delivered in my proposed workshop. Mine was based on interviews with people who knew what lack of engagement looks like. The book highlights ideas and strategies that are well founded and well illustrated.
Kruse gets it right. Early in the book – which is a short yet meaningful read – he establishes that engagement is in a large part the employee’s responsibility. But the most important aspect of the book as far as I am concerned is the identification of engagement style. Most of us know that there is no “one approach fits all” solution to greater engagement of employees, but you can narrow it down through various models. In this case, Kruse uses four simple categories; Communication, Growth, Recognition, and Trust.
You might be wondering at this point, “Is this a book of advice for managers or employees?” Well, both actually. It’s not a how-to guide for managers that will miraculously boost their engagement scores, but it does present a simple, effective model for understanding what engagement is and how we are all engaged differently.
This book is NOT a comprehensive plan that will allow you to take your workplace to new levels of engagement and profitability. The ideas are good and would be an excellent addition to activating a strong people-oriented strategy. But truthfully, if you turn to a book for a comprehensive plan, you might be doing it wrong.
Having said that, I believe that new managers and lost or disheartened employees will both get some good ideas from this book, and I recommend you take a look.