Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Review - The Coming Jobs War

Recently I read the book, The Coming Jobs War. It is written by Jim Clifton, the Chairman of Gallup Corporation, the pioneering survey research company.

He makes many great points throughout the book. What impresses me, is that the conclusions were all developed based on research, and empirical evidence. It's not just another unsubstantiated opinion.

Clifton says that so many companies pay attention to the wrong things. A most critical factor is actually the employees. Looking at the employment issue from the Six Sigma perspective, miserable employees are a "key defect".

"An engaged employee is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization's interests"

Clifton writes many pages on how engaged employees are in their jobs, and provides some very interesting statistics: 
28% of Employees are Engaged in their jobs
53% of Employees are Not Engaged
19% of Employees are Actively Disengaged

Even Clifton is surprised. Only one quarter to one third of employees are actively engaged in their jobs! How does this occur? How to determine how engaged an employee is? In their research, Gallup has come up with twelve questions that can accurately predict how engaged employees are:

1:  I know what is expected of me at work
2:  I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right
3:  At work I have the opportunity to do what I do best
4:  In the last seven days, I have received recognition for praise for doing good work.
5:  My supervisor or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person
6:  There is someone at work who encourages my development
7:  At work, my opinions seem to count
8:  The mission or purpose my organization makes me feel my job is important
9:  My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work
10: I have a best friend at work
11: In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress
12: This last year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow

When I read this summary of questions, I thought it was brilliantly simple! How many questions would you answer with a positive?

Unfortunately, bad managers are to blame. In a large part, because they create environments where ultimate employee answers to the above questions are mostly negative. 

Clifton then goes on to say that nothing fixes bad managers. He estimates that at least one in five managers are bad! Clifton is convinced that nothing can fix a bad manager. His recommendation: bad managers should simply be fired. Not (re)trained. 

Clifton further goes on to apply the same ideas to schools, managers, companies, leadership, and customers. 

Youngsters and teenagers drop out of school when they become disengaged. They lose hope in the future. Then, they drop out of life. Many then go on the welfare roles.  Other go into a life of crime. 

He estimates that only 3 out of 1000 people have the ability to create a company that makes $50 million in revenue per year or more. That's only 30% of 1%. Profit Increase predicts share price increase 80% of the time. Sales growth predicts profit increase 80% of the time.

The best predictor of company success, and new jobs is new customers. To really build a successful company, you need engaged customers that score 5 out of 5 on survey responses. Not 3 out of 5. Not 4 out of 5. To keep a customer, a company needs to bat 100%. If your company fails on any one issue, the customer will not be engaged, and will ultimately be lost. Read the book to find out what the survey questions are.  :)

It's a great book. Short, concise, to the point. Backed up by great and extensive research. Makes sense. Highly recommended.  

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a great book - I'll have to check it out!