136 Ideas For Rockstar Employee Engagement, by James Dodkins
[Note: This book was provided for review by Reedsy Discovery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I found this book greatly enjoyable to read. Although I am a lyrical tenor and violist who is by no means a rockstar in the literal sense, I found the unifying theme of the book to be a great one, not least because the author assumes (correctly) that motivated and competent employees are rock stars that are able to do a great deal and can be empowered to do a lot more under the right circumstances. If you are familiar with Theory Y and various other similar approaches to employee motivation, a lot of what is included in this book will be familiar. And that is not a bad thing–it is not as if good principles at treating employees like rock stars and reducing the distance between management and employees and empowering and training and catering to employees’ needs are something that is new and unknown. If such principles remain distant from how many companies are run, that is not because better ways are not known, but because there is a great deal of conservatism in company culture and because it takes a lot of work and some imagination to see employees appropriately as rock stars for many companies.
This book is designed in a very straightforward way. It consists of illustrated (if somewhat simply so) drawings that accompany 136 ideas to treat employees like rockstars. The book’s concept is very simple, and the author shows himself to be highly aware of the life and behavior of rock stars and the ways that this can be transferred to the corporate world. Many of these ideas are fairly obvious–pay well, provide flexible hours, encourage communication and training, help employees get rid of irksome and frustrating tasks to increase morale, appreciate families, provide good and nutritious food for employees, and so on. The author notes, several times, that rock stars like to party and gives plenty of occasions where partying would be good. The author also notes that rock stars need to play hard as well as work hard and achieve a good work-life balance that includes medical care, massages, the ability to work from home, and even have time for personal passion projects that increase the employee’s morale in general. The advice is given with a great deal of humor, but for many companies it would amount to a transformation of how they do business and even how they visualize the space and shape of the company, which is for the best.
While there is a bit of repetition among the various tips for rockstar employee engagement, the advice is sound and told in a humorous way that is likely to go down easy. One can see this particular book being particular popular in newer businesses that are more willing to vest all of their employees with stocks to provide a sense of ownership and which are less tied to traditional methods straight out of the 1950’s (or even out of Taylorism in the 1920’s) for viewing employees are mere cogs in the machine rather than rock stars capable of brilliant material. The book is full of classic 80’s humor and demonstrates that the author does not take himself too seriously even if he has some serious insight to provide. There are a lot of rock star employees–I happen to be one of them–who would greatly love to enjoy the sort of experience discussed by the author in this book. Here’s hoping that the rock star life for employees becomes more common thanks to this book.