Book review and summary of We: How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement by Rudy Karsan and Kevin Kruse

by Scott Crabtree

We: How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement is titled so because the authors view employee engagement as a partnership between employees and their employers. I couldn’t agree more. The authors were, at the time, executives at Kenexa, which offers employee engagement surveys and consulting.

Early on the authors argue strongly that paying for performance is key to engagement.  I disagree. The research summarized in Daniel Pink’s book Drive suggests that paying smart people for their performance–at least in the short term–backfires and leads to reduced performance. I have hunted extensively for data on how performance incentives over the long term, a year or more and found nothing. I’ve asked professors who say they don’t know of any data either. If anyone reading this has that data, please share! Until then, I would urge extreme caution before applying the authors advice to pay in advance for performance.

Later the book moves into much more valuable territory, including Growth, Recognition, and Trust, the authors’ keys to employee engagement.

This is a valuable book for those who want to dive deep to learn more about employee engagement. If you are looking for a short introduction to employee engagement, I’d suggest Kevin Kruse’s other book on engagement first.

Scott Crabtree

As the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happy Brain Science, Scott Crabtree empowers individuals and organizations to apply findings from cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology to boost productivity and happiness at work.

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