The Enthusiastic Employee How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-07-30
  • Publisher: Pearson FT Press
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


This book is about employee enthusiasm: that special, invigorating, purposeful and emotional state that’s always present in the most successful organizations. Most people are enthusiastic when they’re hired: hopeful, ready to work hard, eager to contribute. What happens? Management, that’s what.  The Enthusiastic Employee  is an action-oriented book that helps companies obtain more from workers - the basic premise is that under the right kind of leadership, the more one side wins in a collaborative relationship, the more for the other side.   The book is heavily evidence-based (using extensive employee survey data) and lays out two basic ideas:  the “Three-Factor Theory” of human motivation at work and the “Partnership” company culture that is based on the Three-Factor Theory and that, by far, brings out the best in people as they respond with enthusiasm about what they do and the company they do it for.   Drawing on research with 13,000,000+ employees in 840+  companies,  The Enthusiastic Employee, Second Edition  tells you what managers (from first-line supervisor to senior leadership) do wrong. Then it tells you something much more important: what to do instead.   David Sirota and Douglas Klein detail exactly how to create an environment where enthusiasm flourishes and businesses excel. Extensively updated with new research, case studies, and techniques (they have added over 8.6 million employees and over 400 companies to their analyses ), it now contains a detailed  study of Mayo Clinic, one of the world’s most effective healthcare organizations and a true representation of the principle of partnership, as well as more in-depth descriptions of private sector exemplars of partnership, such as Costco.  Other new chapters include: how the Great Recession really impacted workers’ morale (bottom-line, it didn’t) and how to build a true Partnership Culture that starts with senior leadership.   They now debunk fashionable theories of worker “generations” (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y, etc.) as mostly nonsense… clarify what they’ve learned about making business ethics and corporate social responsibility actionable… share what research on merit pay (pay for individual performance) tells us about its likely impact on school teachers and performance  (not good)…discuss the utility of teleworking (and the dust-up at Yahoo)…offer compelling, data-informed insights about women and minorities in the workplace, and much more. You can have enthusiastic employees, and it does matter – more than it ever has. Whether you’re a business leader, HR/talent management professional, or strategist, that’s the workforce you need – and this is the book that will help you get it.

Author Biography

David Sirota has two abiding professional interests: organization behavior and survey research. Both of these interests took hold at the University of Michigan, where he received his doctorate, and where he worked at that university’s Institute for Social Research, a leading center for applying survey methods to the study of organizations. Upon receiving his doctorate, David was recruited by International Business Machines (IBM) to help initiate behavioral science research there. He stayed at IBM for 12 years in a variety of research and executive positions, leaving in 1972 to set up his own firm, Sirota Consulting, now simply Sirota. The firm specializes in the diagnosis and improvement of the relationships of organizations with all of their key constituencies: employees, customers, suppliers, investors, and communities. In 1996, David became chairman emeritus of the firm, after completing his own succession plan with key employees. He continues to consult with selected clients, primarily on matters of leadership, and collaboration and conflict within and between organizations.


Parallel to his career as a consultant, David has had an academic career, having taught at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations of Cornell University, the School of Industrial Administration of Yale University, the Sloan School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


David is married with two children and lives in New York City.


Douglas Klein is, likewise, steeped in survey research, with 25 years of experience in the field. Prior to joining Sirota, he worked for AT&T, building leadership assessment centers and conducting employee research, and then at Time Warner, where he conducted employee and customer satisfaction research. Doug brought his insights into employee and customer research to Sirota and helped launch its “linkage” efforts, statistically relating employee attitudes, customer attitudes, and “hard” business metrics. He managed the normative database for the firm for more than a decade (on which so much in the book’s first and second editions is based) and is seen by many as a real historian of employee attitudes. His current role as the firm’s chief leadership advisor allows him to apply his strong analytical skills and decades of client experience to issues of organizational values and culture and to the day-to-day problems faced by senior executives in the management of their companies.


Doug is an active advisor, speaker, and writer. (See his blog on and search for the many articles he has authored or to which he has contributed.) He holds a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from New York University.


Doug lives in Merrick, New York, with his wife Ilene and their two children.


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments    xi

About the Authors    xiii

About the Second Edition    xv

Our New Website    xx

Introduction    1

Asking the Questions    4

Asking the Right Questions    4

Questions Result in Data    6

After the Honeymoon    11

A Quick Look at “Old-Fashioned” Theories    12

Solid Theory, Research, and Management Practice to Which We Are in Debt    15

How This Book Is Organized    15

Part I  Worker Motivation, Morale, and Performance    17

Chapter 1  What Workers Want—The Big Picture    19

Blame It on the Young    20

The Lordstown Strike and Job Enrichment “Solution”    22

The Generation Gap Mythology Re-Emerges    24

Myths About the Work Itself    29

The Sirota Three-Factor Theory    32

The Specific Evidence for the Three-Factor Theory    45

How the Three Factors Work in Combination    52

Racial/Ethnic and Gender Differences    55

Individual Differences    62

Chapter 2  Employee Enthusiasm and Business Success    67

Making the Connection    67

Telling Us in Their Own Words    69

A Few Leading Organizations    74

“Enthusiasm” Versus “Engagement”    79

Enthusiasm and Performance: The Research Evidence    81

Building the People Performance Model    86

Part II  Enthusiastic Workforces, Motivated by Fair Treatment    93

Chapter 3  Job Security    95

Specific Job Security Policies and Practices    107

Chapter 4  Compensation    117

Money as Seen by Workers    117

Money as Seen by Employers    118

Levels of Pay    122

Paying for Performance    133

Recommendations    143

A Note on Merit Pay for Teachers    157

Chapter 5  The Impact of the Great Recession: Flight to Preservation    161

The Survey Results    165

The Role of Management    176

Chapter 6  Respect    181

The Heart of Respect    184

Humiliating Treatment    186

Indifferent Treatment    188

The Specifics of Respectful Treatment    193

Physical Conditions of Work    195

Status Distinctions    196

Compensation Status Is a Fundamental Distinction    200

Job Autonomy    203

Constrained Communication    206

Part III  Enthusiastic Workforces, Motivated by Achievement    213

Chapter 7  Organization Purpose and Principles    215

Elements of Pride in One’s Company    215

The Impact on Performance of “Doing Good”    219

Short- Versus Long-Term Profit Horizon    225

More About Purpose    231

More About Principles    232

Ethics in the Treatment of Employees    233

Getting Practical: Translating Statements of Purposes and Principles into Practice    238

Chapter 8  Job Enablement    255

Ah, Bureaucracy! The Evil That Just Won’t Go Away    262

A Management Style That Works    269

Layers of Management    274

The Benefits of Self-Managed Teams    278

Telecommuting: Yahoo Bans Work-From-Home    283

Chapter 9  Job Challenge    295

Is This an Aberration, Are Workers Delusional, or Are They Lying?    297

Given a Choice, Few People Volunteer to Fail    300

Push and Pull    302

Chapter 10  Feedback, Recognition, and Reward    313

Do Workers Get the Feedback They Need?    313

Guidance    315

A Short Course on Giving Cognitive Feedback    318

Evaluation, Recognition, and Reward    330

What Makes for Effective Recognition of Workers?    333

Advancement    340

The Other Side of the Equation: Dealing with Unsatisfactory Performance    343

Feedback Sets Priorities    347

Part IV  Enthusiastic Workforces, Motivated by Camaraderie    349

Chapter 11  Teamwork    351

A Look Back    352

Are We Doing Better Now?    353

Socializing While Working    354

Uncooperative Co-Workers Have an Exponentially Negative Effect    356

Contentious Workgroups Are Drags on the Organization    357

Building Partnership    362

How Can the Misperceptions Be Uncovered, Confronted, and Corrected?    364

Lay the Foundation Prior to the Workshop    367

Establish Workshop Ground Rules    367

A Typical Workshop Agenda    369

Action Example: IT and Its Users    370

Part V  Bringing It All Together: The Culture of Partnership    375

Chapter 12  The Culture of Partnership    377

Application to Other Constituencies    395

A Cultural Case Study of Mayo Clinic    396

Partnership in These Times    405

Chapter 13  Leadership and the Partnership Culture    411

The Critical Importance of Effective Leadership    412

Trust    414

Charisma    417

The Nine Key Leadership Attributes    421

Chapter 14  Translating Partnership Theory into Partnership Practice    431

It Starts at the Top    433

The Action Process    436

Endnotes    457

Index    479


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