1001 Ways to Energize EmployeesIt's probably unfortunate that I already owned "100 Ways to Motivate Others" before buying this book. I was looking for ways to help appreciate and reward my volunteers with the low budget I had available. I purchased "1001 Ways to Energize Employees" for the same reasons - looking for ways to help my volunteers feel happy and appreciated in their chosen tasks. Unfortunately, the books seem to overlap quite a bit, and in both cases seem to require quite a large cash outlay.
The book is in essence a collection of random ideas from established companies. One company spent $60,000 building a local playground instead of going on a golf outing. That's WAY outside my budget!! They talk about REI losing $1 million by choosing to situate its building closer to where employees live vs where it was good for shipping reasons. Again, way outside my budget. A company in Illinois saved $15 million by cutting out things like its employee picnic. That's nice (I think?) but again, not helpful at all.
There are a few reasonable suggestions in here. Provide employee training. Provide a way to solicit employee suggestions. Provide frequent updates on company health. These are all very common sense and are offered in the intro area of just about every management book I've seen. But in many cases, the items shown are contradictory. One item says "provide positive feedback on what is going on." The next item says "Be honest about what is going on even if it's bad news". Well? Be positively negative?
I suppose the clearest reason for this book's success is the example that they give, that the most enjoyed feature in a FedEx newsletter is where they report on what other mailing companies are doing. By reading this book, you get "secret" news about what other companies are doing. That's always fun in a peering-through-the-keyhole sort of way. But they rarely tell HOW the information was received, just that it was being done. In cases where they say "the employees love it", that can often be the enthusiastic hopes of the PR department that performed the task. It could be that the employees thought the item was completely inane.
It's not that the book was a complete waste of time. It's an enjoyable book to rent from the library, to skim through. It might spur an idea or two from you, out of the 1,001 presented. However, I really would have enjoyed a book that was much more organized, that had much more follow through about the cost involved and the aim of why they did it.
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