Employee Experience AdvantageAuthor: Jacob Morgan
Publisher: Wiley – 282 pages
Book Review by: Laxmi Chaandi

There are some remarkable business leaders who have had outstanding achievements and possess unbelievable wealth, whom executive coach Marshall Goldsmith has worked with, as he mentions in his Foreword to this book. He writes: “Any outsider would assume they were happy.”

But they would be wrong. Why? He explains: “Like so many others, they succumb to the great Western disease – I will be happy when. When I get promoted. When I reach the next professional milestone. When I make a certain amount of money. In reality, while it feels good to buy a fancy car or get the corner office, that joy wears off pretty fast. That’s why I tell my clients not to hold out. Be happy now.”

Goldsmith, dubbed by Wiley as ‘the World’s No.1 Ranked Leadership Thinker,’ believes and teaches the importance of not holding out, but being happy in the present for the happiness, satisfaction, and well-being derived from your job and position in a company.

And he states that the author Jacob Morgan understands this ‘fundamental truth’. After many years of experience and observation, he understands that after employees have reached a certain baseline salary, pay and bonuses and other extrinsic rewards don’t really motivate them, and those are no longer the main driver.

Today, they want something more. This is especially true among the Millennial generation who hunger for, and express their need to have more meaning in their work, and to make an impact.

This book is about that something more. Jacob Morgan should know what constitutes that something more, as he has authored two other books relating to work: The Collaborative Organization, and The Future of Work.

The contents of this book of less than 300 pages are elegantly organized with a short introduction and four Parts, namely:

Introduction: We All Care About Experience

  1. Part I – The Evolution of Employee Experience
  2. Part II – The Reason for Being and the Three Employee Environments
  3. Part III – Why Invest in Employee Experience?
  4. Part IV – Building the Experimental Organization

Human beings are naturally curious, Morgan writes in his Introduction: We All Care About Experience. We all want see different places in our country, visit exotic villages, towns and cities around the world, meet people with backgrounds not like ours, taste food we’ve never eaten before, drink new beverages, and in general have experiences that are new to us.

As an example: why did former President George H.W. Bush, after he retired, want to experience what skydiving was like?

We want to do all kinds of ‘experiential activities’ because that is part of our innate nature.

Morgan elaborates on this point: “Nobody makes us do these things; we do them because we want to, all for the sake of getting that experience that will hopefully last for a long time or a lifetime. Most people don’t stop to think about it, but experiences are really one of the main things that make us human.”

He then cites research studies which found that when people spend money on experiences, over time their satisfaction level goes up, whereas when people spend money on physical things, over time their satisfaction level goes down. (This excludes things that increase in value such as precious metals).

Since exploratory experiences are so important to our happiness and well-being, the author asks: “What happened to experience inside of our organizations?”

This then, is what Employee Experience Advantage is all about, and he begins Part I by stating that the evolution of the office workplace we are experiencing now, places more emphasis than ever before on people.

Today, we are introducing humanity and human experiences in organizations in order to have employees more engaged in their work, and to enhance their satisfaction at contributing toward a more successful and productive organization. This is a win-win for all: shareholders, management, and employees.

This is a well thought-out, well-planned, and well-written book by Jacob Morgan. His thorough understanding and deep insight about employee experience, motivation and satisfaction in an organization is revealed in this book. Well done!