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Our Favorite Book of the Month: BUILT IT!

BUILT IT by Glenn Elliott & Debra Corey As the name suggests this book is a proven guide and model for building an engaged company culture. It is based on working with nearly 2000 organizations worldwide and it will help you to identify places in the organization where engagement is made or broken. It aims at nothing less than launching a "rebelution" in the ways companies handle the age-old problems that daunt managements such as issues of employee recognition, job design, learning, leadership,management, purpose, mission and values,open and honest communication, pay and benefits, workspace and well being.The authors insist that you have to be a rebel to view the problem of employee engagement with a fresh perspective and open eyes. Take the issue of employee recognition. Companies cripple their programs with complicated workflows and approval processes that restrict the ability to say a genuine thank you. Management and staff need coaching and training to say thank you often and without fear. Then consider the problem of job design and how we can createhigh engagement jobs. Most jobs lack freedom and autonomy and are bent on making an employee an efficient part of a well-oiled machine. This does not work anymore and there is stress and breakdown through out the organization. The best jobs have learning and recognition built into them. When it comes to the issue of learning, technology has fundamentally altered learning by making available vast quantities of free content. Therefore, learning has become a personal endeavor to be owned individually. Everyone must be free to learn at his own time, speed and terms. Without freedom and responsibility, there is no learning. As far as leadership is concerned, technology is creating a revolution of sorts by democratizing power and leaders must serve their people more than ever before. They can be accepted or rejected by the people and nobody can do anything. The best leaders concentrate on building and maintaining trust with their people. In the best engaged companies, engagement is encouraged at the CEO level itself. When it comes to management, policy and practice must conform with company values or you will be saddled with an inauthentic culture. Treating staff as adversaries damages trust. Management practice has done away with the myth that jobs are permanent. Since managers are powerful people, it is essential that they be one with employee engagement. Purpose, mission and values (PMV) is of crucial importance in forging engagement and an inspiring mission is the key for staff to fall in line. Documenting and embedding company values is good for guiding behavior. PMV is just not words; it must be lived and any misalignment between words and actions erodes culture and leads to a decline in engagement. Open and honest communication and trust are inseparable. Leaders can create a situation of mistrust by under communicating. The organization must strive to create a culture where staff trust leadership enough to speak up. To create a high trust culture you must allow for dissent, disagreement and differences of opinion. It is observed that the best companies create a culture of lateral transparency between peers and departments. Pay and benefits are becoming more and more transparent as managements are unable to conceal pay scales from staff. Benefits should be simple and not hamper communication and uptake. Since cash is the most expensive way to make payments, benefits can amplify employer money. Workspace plays a critical role in ensuring employee productivity. Physical and virtual workplaces are agents of enabling or destruction. Since different people need different places to work, workspaces must be designed accordingly to meet differentobjectives. Lastly,since workplace stress and burnout are critical threats to business performance, it is time to move away from a one-sided approach to true flexible working. Well being needs an integrated approach covering physical,mental and financial health to be effective.Technology has changed the relationship between home and work and failure to handle this change has led to high levels of stress.The entire organization has to be involved in ensuring the well being of its employees. This book is for the doer - the rebel and the iconoclast - who cannot wait to change the world. He will probably turn conventional wisdom upside down and come up with astonishing results. The text has references to abundant additional material and the relevant website addresses are given. It is a good investment for people looking for unconventional experiences, not just jobs.

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