Books and glasses

The Employee Recognition Book Club Reading List

Here at The WOW! Awards, employee recognition and gratitude is our life’s work and passion. We’ve dedicated over 20 years to building and managing some of the most inspirational recognition programmes alongside our clients.

Over this time, we’ve researched and read a lot of theory and best practice examples of how to motivate and engage teams. So we thought we’d share some of our top reads and resources with you here.

Put the kettle on and take a look at our reading list covering five of our favourite topics.

1. Creating true employee engagement

Daniel H. Pink’s “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us“ is a fascinating lesson in how to build long term motivation in employees. As discussed in our blog post ‘Motivated by money – and 3 other myths’, Pink explains how financial incentives are not enough to make a difference.

There are clear psychological lessons in here about how humans are wired and therefore how to move beyond ‘compliance’ into true engagement. Pink also offers up some useful examples of how companies have been applying this theory.

If you’re short on time there is a great YouTube video explaining Pinks’ theory which you can watch below.

2. Becoming a motivating manager

Secondly, we highly recommend ‘Payoff: The hidden logic that shapes our motivations’ written by Dan Ariely. Ariely is a behavioural economist who encourages us to view ourselves in the role of ‘motivator’, which is a great way of thinking about leadership and management.

Ariely also explains how purpose driven, engaging working environments will have a greater impact on productivity than financial reward possibly can. There are also several TED talks online covering different areas of his work. You can watch this below.

3. Building a successful company culture

Jim Collins in his book ‘Good to Great’ uncovers well researched learnings about what successful businesses have in common. Having reviewed more than a thousand companies, Collins explains how company culture is the most influential factor in unlocking growth.

This book is full of inspiring case studies and real life examples that can be picked up and applied by many businesses. The lesson around sharing ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ is one of our favourite learnings, explained in our blog post ‘Our top 10 management tips to bring out the best in people’.

4. Playing to your team’s strengths

Next up is less of an individual read and more of an engaging team exercise. We highly recommend this book for newly formed teams or perhaps teams that need to be brought back together. Have a look at the ‘Strengths Finder’ book from Gallup and Tom Rath.

This book explains the importance of knowing and focussing on our strengths rather than simply gathering feedback on our weaknesses or areas to improve. Fundamentally, focussing on the positives in order to recreate them is a strong principle held by all of us here at The WOW! Awards.

As ever, Gallup’s work is based on highly empirical evidence. The ‘Strengths Finder’ explains how being in ‘the strengths zone’ can lead to people being six times more engaged in their work.

Each book comes with a unique code for the reader to take the Strengths Finder survey online and uncover their natural strengths. Learning about these strengths in more detail is a great way to encourage people to play to their advantages and learn how to balance work as a team. If you do this, please let us know how you find it

5. How employee experience feeds into your customer experience

If the kitchen where the soup is made is a miserable work environment, then it’s likely the tears of your employees are going to make their way into that soup. Customers are going to taste those tears!

Blake Morgan

More is More: How the best companies go further and work harder to create knock-your-socks-off customer experiences

Blake Morgan in her book ‘More is More’ focuses on how to create excellent ‘knock your socks off customer experiences’. Of course an important element of this is your employee experience and Morgan explains the correlation very convincingly. She also discusses how technology should play a role in improving both the employee and customer experience and how those two things sit hand in hand.

What would you add?

If you have any suggestions for us to add to our list, please get in touch. You can reach us by email or via any of our social channels. We’d love to hear from you.