This is a great employee engagement & leadership 307-page book. It asks a great question, “Who the hell wants to work for you?“. A refreshing approach to leadership that is more self-reflective than preaching. An approach not uncommon in this genre of management/ business book. This is a light, but substantial read.
About the author, Tim Eisenhauer is Cofounder and president of Axero who have developed a social collaboration platform. Interestingly a tool that started out as a customer service tool that turned into the businesses main offer!
Based on his 10 plus years of running and growing tech-based businesses Tim has explored many approached to employee engagement, and this book is as much his inner voice coaching him as it is for readers and managers in other organisations. A unique and different approach. It works
Setting the scene
Tim starts out by identifying what the essence of employee engagement is to him. He boils it down to:
- How badly the employee wants to do the work
- How many people WANT to work for YOU
- And how well everyone in the company wants to achieve a common goal.
Put it these terms employee engagement is easy! Or is it?
In the book ,Tim goes through what he believes are 23 workplace principles. This is broken into 3 main stages:
- Empower the individual
- Empower the relationship
- Empower the culture
Tim shares his own early career history and the drivers of passion that led him to the way he leads his company, and his belief that people “want to do a good job”
Empower the individual
The chapters in this section are:
- An employees view
- Hire Traits and behaviours
- Engage from day one
- Set goals
- Keep your eye on the prise
Empower the Relationship
- A managers view
- Use them or lose them
- Support career development
- Make them visible
- Let go of your inner micromanager
- Be authentic
- Reward like a king
Empower the Culture
- An executives view
- Got culture?
- Start at the top
- Give them a voice
- Default to open
- Go on a mission
- Engage outside of work
- Say thankyou
- Give them a break
- Let the walls help
The Author starts each section with a view. The individuals view, the Managers view and the executive view. This is one of the first times in a business book I have seen a clear statement that there are different perspectives in an organisation. This is refreshing. Our own BIR tool looks at these very same perspectives, and we have done this doe some time too!
As a leader, I, like the author believe that we need to understand the variety of perspectives. The author helps both himself and the reader explore this issues and challenges. Have I mentioned the fact that I LOVE the way the author is almost coaching and reminding himself? This is typified in a section at the end of chapter 1 “Let’s talk about empowering people the right way. Most of the ideas in this book should not surprise you. They are things you knew all along that bear repeating. Not just because they help you when you follow them – but also because they hurt when you don’t”
Throughout the book, Tim reflects on what he has read from other well-known authors and business leaders, from Dan Pink, through the case of Zappos and Simon Sinek
There are many practical things that the author shares with the reader. One is called 5-15 reports. Based on the work of Harvey Schachter, and how after encouraging people throughout the org to do these, it helped communication and clarification throughout the business.
The 5-15 as in the book
Accomplishments for the week
Priorities for next week
Lessons learned/ opportunities for improvement
A simple set of things. Not over bureaucratic in the way the tool is deployed seemed key.
Summary – Who the hell wants to work for you?
Tim consistently talks about context. Not trying to copy others, but to find your own path based on what you feel is right and sustainable. The book is full of micro stories and examples. I would be surprised if this book does not become a “must read” of anyone who is serious about their company or their leadership ability.
As Tim himself said, there is little in the book that is new, but what a fresh way to look at many factors. Highly recommended for anyone leading others or starting a business.
I for one will be revisiting this again soon! Thanks Tim.
Full Disclosure – A copy of the book was sent to us for review, but no payment reveived.