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My Christmas Wish: Employee Engagement

We talk quite a bit about employee engagement at MeritBuilder. Here’s the deal: we get it. Employee engagement is a real competitive advantage. It is also incredibly difficult to measure but what’s that saying about how important things can’t always be measured?

While I don’t believe that employee engagement can always be measured, I do believe that learning about how employee engagement can be a competitive advantage can help companies invest wisely in that process. One of the best books I’ve read on the subject was sent to me by author Brad Federman called Employee Engagement: A Roadmap for Creating Profits, Optimizing Performance and Increasing Loyalty.

Federman lays out the case for employee engagement in a methodical, well researched way in the first half of the book. He goes through example after example of real world clients and well known cases of problematic employee engagement styles.

In the second half of the book, he walks the reader through how to implement the ideals he explained at the beginning of the book. He uses examples from companies he has worked with and has shared the results of that work. This incredibly detailed account of how to boost your company’s employee engagement won’t leave you wondering how to achieve the ideal. In my experience, that feeling is rare.

Being a visual person myself, a few of the charts and illustrations helped pound home the message in a clear manner. Did some of those charts smell like a stuffy college course at times? Yes but this again points to the audience Federman is focusing on: business educated managers.

Here’s the other thing: this book is good for engaging both white collar and blue collar workforces. You can’t say that for too many of the books out there in the business section (especially on the heady topic of employee engagement).

The other thing to consider is Federman has been in this space speaking the message for a long time. That shows throughout the book as Federman takes a deeper and more results focused view than others. This was good for me but perhaps not so great for a person who is looking to discover the purpose and value of employee engagement on a superficial level.

It is my hope that resources like this and people like Brad Federman will continue to inspire folks to think about employee engagement and how it can be used as a real competitive advantage as we enter 2010.

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