July 26, 2018

Book Review – The Happy Employee

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — Shalini @ 1:31 pm

It’s #review Time.

It’s Thursday and we are back with our weekly review. I know I have not reviewed a book in a long time but we did review some conferences and events in the meanwhile. I promise to be regular now though. These books take time to finish and that too when I am reading almost in every 5-minute window I get between other things I do. Anyway, let’s move on.

The book I am reviewing this week is not a new one. It’s an old book. THE HAPPY EMPLOYEE.



Why am I reviewing it is not the question, the question I am asking myself is why have I not reviewed it till now. This book was written by Julia Mc Govern and Susan Shelly and published by Adams Media in 2008. The first South Asian Edition was published in 2010. I remember buying a set for my office in 2012. Each and every employee in my office is given this book as a gift on the day of joining. They are supposed to read it and I know they don’t, mostly. So now, I owe a review to this book.

Not a very famous book, not the bestsellers kind, but definitely a book, which every recruiter must read. Are you a recruitment executive, Hiring associate, a trainee in a hiring firm, learning the Knick knacks of recruitment in a consulting firm, are you the one handling bulk interviews and placement projects from the scratch, if yes, you need to read this book before any else. Though the book cover says “101 ways for managers to attract retain and inspire the best and brightest”. But honestly, few can be ignored, keeping in mind that the time now has changed and we don’t need those ways anymore.



WHY should you read this book?

It talks basics: Unlike all the stuff that I read these days related to HR, Recruitment, Business, etc. is mainly into leadership, tech, AI, etc. But Hello! There is a section of industry which still needs basics.  This book is for setting the basics right. Let’s work on the foundation first. The basics of Interviews, How to attract top talent, what is talent, how to retain employees, how to get ready for interviews, how to conduct interviews, etc. etc. These basics make this book a must-have for those who believe in building a strong foundation before taking that leap.


It’s practical: We work in the real world, dealing with real people in real time scenarios and then some of the theoretical assumption and projection just simply fail. Who cares for theory? This book offers a few very practical examples to solve the daily work problems of a Hiring professional whether a manager or an intern. Like the “Seven-step smart hiring process”, “knowing the legal implications of an interview”, “a checklist for selecting the best candidate”, “what to include in an offer of employment” etc. etc. These sound obvious and “of course I know it”. But we all know, we need a reminder.


Awesome examples – real ones: This book will keep you hooked because whatever it says, it proves it or validates it with an example /quotes. Jack Welch on picking the right people, Roger E Herman on the presence of top-flight employees, case studies of Alcon laboratories, Cisco systems etc.

Real and relatable– The book’s language is real. The titles and topics are not too fancy to sound beyond understanding. It’s simple and very relatable, friendly language. For example, few topics are “nobody is perfect, but let us try harder”, “Avoiding the NICE GUY trap”, “you are not the lone ranger’, “MBWA – Management by walking around”, “Be a visible boss”. “Seven sins of deadly meetings” These titles make me want to read it, even if I believe I know this stuff, still.



“What could have been better?”

Case studies – Few impactful case studies would have been a good idea. Though there are examples and quotes, they are in the beginning and are very few, good but few. Case studies have a stronger impact on a reader while trying to understand a concept, for instance, MBWA. I would know it works and is necessary if I read a case study or a specialist’s example to prove it.

Where is the DATA? – It doesn’t talk about Data in any way. I didn’t see any reference to numbers or figures, apart from few small quotes. The points being reinforced or mentioned are right, I know it from experience but a fresh mind who is still learning would need some numbers to validate it in his/her head to give it a try.

Does not talk technology – Maybe because it was written in 2008. Tech was still trying to invade and had not penetrated completely, HR was still sidelined function. But a little reference with technologies emerging and how it can help managers or hiring teams to perform better, what are the challenges we can face in future as a recruiter would have made this book a wholesome one.

In whole this book is old but deserves to be on your bookshelf for reference purpose. This can be a good reference book for designing beginners training programs and as I said, initially, it will be a good gift for your fresh joiners in the recruitment team. You can order this book in both Kindle and paperback edition here

I try to review one book every month, please mention or suggest if there is any book you want me to review. I am honest and I don’t really like sugar. On my blog, I review books related to HR, Recruitment, Business, Leadership, HR Tech etc. only. Apart from that, if you want reviews, ask me directly on my twitter handle @shaliniHarnot

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