12 (2006), Rodd Wagner & James K. Harter - Book Summary

12 (2006) collects data from millions of surveys conducted by Gallup, Inc to select the best facts about what works to make employees happy and why employees are happy is good for the company. If you are looking for practical solutions to improve employee relations and the quality of managers, look no further, start reading this book.

Who should read this book?

  • Managers struggle with employee commitment;
  • Readers interested in motivational techniques;
  • Staff everywhere.


Rodd Wagner is a mentor to business executives around the world, helping them improve performance and efficiency. He is also a former principal at Gallup, Inc. Additionally, he is the author of the book Widgets : 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees.

Dr. James K. Harter is the Head of Science and Technology Advisory for the Board of Directors at Gallup, Inc. and is a researcher with over a thousand published studies. He is also a contributor to The New York Times and Harvard Business Review.

Discover the science of engines

Gallup, Inc. found 12 factors to manage well after obtaining data from thousands of surveys. In this book, we will learn the most important things.

We will discuss:

  • Why enthusiastic workers make a lot of profit for the company;
  • What really motivates employees;
  • Why teamwork is more important than rank.

There are many reasons for managers and businesses to create employee happiness.

Managers will tell you one of the hardest parts of a job is keeping all employees happy and productive.

Gallup, Inc. conducted millions of surveys with managers and their employees to determine the best management techniques. The following information is the result of years of investigation into what really motivates employees

One of the most significant and significant findings is that the happier employees are, the more profitable the business. They work harder and are less likely to quit, which saves a lot of time and money.

To be precise, highly motivated employees have a 27% higher productivity rate than others. The data also shows that employees who are dissatisfied with their jobs or quit regularly are 31% more likely to quit, and it is costly to find replacements for highly skilled positions. most time and money. So, if your company loses a chemical engineer or an elevator repairman—who are uniquely talented—it will be difficult and expensive to find a replacement.

Perhaps more surprising is that happy employees have fewer accidents at work. There are a lot of jobs that are quite dangerous. If you work for a transportation company, you could be injured in a crash while driving. Happy workers tend to have fewer accidents because of their engaged and focused spirit. Because they like what they do, they pay attention to it. And this means they are less prone to carelessness.

Happy employees know how to contribute to the company's goals and their expectations.

If you're hiring someone to build your home, you want to be sure of two things: they have all the tools you need, and they know exactly what to expect. If you lack equipment or knowledge, you may have to stay in a small wooden house instead of a lime mortar villa.

This can also apply within the organization. One data shows that only 50% of employees completely agree that they know about the company's expectations. Employees also benefit from knowing exactly how their work aligns with others in the company and conveys what they expect from others.

This is evidenced by the work of management experts Robert Huckman and Gary Pisano, who in 2005 discovered that surgeons work better in many other locations rather than in hospitals - where they spend their time. the most time. In fact, at the hospital, surgeons are familiar with other doctors and nurses and know exactly what to expect from each one.

Another key to employee joy and happiness is making sure they know exactly how their work will contribute to the company's goals.

This is the big deal at the Hammons & Winegardner hotel in Dallas. When Nancy Sorrells is hired to get the hotel business on track, she discovers that no one understands how her job will contribute to the overall success of the company.

To remedy this situation, she proclaimed the company mission to her employees to help them understand the role each individual plays in delivering great experiences with each guest. When they know their mission, the front desk staff see that they can do more to serve guests than just handing them the room key. As a result, people were more motivated to work and a few months later, the hotel had a 95 out of 100 test score.

Managers should be agile in recognizing and rewarding hard-working individuals with distinctly positive feedback.

As a child, if your parents wanted you to clean your room, they might have used rewards to encourage you. Maybe they said they'd let you go for ice cream if you did well.

Believe it or not, incentives like these are also very effective in adulthood, especially at work. But the gift you will receive will be positive comments instead of sweet treats.

In fact, when employees receive regular compliments, productivity and revenue often increase by about 10-20%.

Therefore, not underestimating the performance of employees is a simple method to make them happier.

Most people find it pleasant to receive compliments. The employee's brain releases dopamine, which promotes feelings of satisfaction and happiness when hearing kind words. This release also creates an urge to regain this feeling and in turn this goal will help employees perform at their best.

This chemical process also explains why some people lose motivation. When they lack the work-related chemical dopamine, they have little reason to do the job or set their ambitions to do something higher than the minimum pay-per-centre for completing it.

However, praise needs to be given wisely. It can lead to jealousy and resentment, so managers need to offer praise in a just two-person situation.

Companies often make the mistake of praising employees in team meetings. In 2002, when Elibieta Gorska oversaw the warehouse staff at the International Paper Company in Poland, it was the staff's sole duty to know and follow all regulatory procedures for doing business under the home business. own country and people just take orders and don't get any compliments.

During a team meeting, Gorska made a mistake when she complimented four employees and created an atmosphere of jealousy, breaking the team spirit. Gorska realized her mistake and set up a one-on-one meeting each week, where she could listen to employee concerns and acknowledge individuals who did good work.

Employee productivity will be improved if they feel they are part of the organization and this requires personal management leadership.

As humanity evolved as a species, we moved to a city economy. But this does not mean that we are separate from the community.

Making employees feel part of the organization is one step closer to their satisfaction.

This creates a close-knit group of colleagues, helping them share the same goals to strive for and help prioritize employee interests.

Employees are happy because they are members of the organization themselves, which means that they are part of a network of members who are interested in helping each other. It has been proven that people who get along and remain members of a tribe are more likely to survive and thrive because jobs like hunting and farming are easier when more people are involved.

And all the attributes of a tribe can be found in a modern company: the same language, the same territorial boundaries, and the same manager as the tribal leader.

However, in order to make employees want to become part of the organization, the manager needs to strengthen the leadership role by genuinely caring about the employees in the company.

Here's how Larry Walters was able to handle the emergency at the Qwest call center in Idaho Falls. When recruited as a manager in 2003, the company's employees were not motivated to work and the results were very poor.

Instead of just focusing on numbers, he memorized every employee's name, started getting to know them and cared about them, got to know their interests, talked about everyone's children's education at school.

Therefore, every employee wants to impress their new leader because in his eyes, each person is an important link in the system.

“To understand why people have a desire to be cared for, we need to understand the core of the larger human problems.”

Instead of using scientific approaches, managers should involve employees in the problem-solving process.

If you are part of a group where not all members are close to each other, it will be boring and there can be a lot of conflict. This is why some managers think it's easier to manage than to have everyone obey their every command, rather than cooperate with each other.

Let's call this the "scientific approach" to management. It is an outdated, often failed and unmotivated approach that many large organizations still follow. The person to blame for this is Frederick Winslow Taylor, who launched his business rapidly during the industrial revolution.

To work more efficiently, Taylor has improved employee productivity by leaving all work planning and thinking to managers, supervisors, and schedulers. In this model, employees have no reason to wonder – everything that needs to be done appears and is done according to their sharing.

This measure may have boosted productivity at the time, but it also created a robot-like, mindless, and controlled workforce with a single-minded concern for managers. production quota is reached.

But employees are not mindless robots, because they are human. They are always excited and productive when they have the opportunity to work on projects they are confident about participating in.

If you know this, all problems in the workplace will be resolved smoothly. See the following example:

In 2001, a children's hospital in Toronto faced a budget cut with MRI ( Magnetic Resonance Imaging ). This means they have to find another way to work quickly and still get quality images.

Manager Susan Jewell solved the problem by creating a day-long meeting with representatives of the two groups to think of a solution that everyone could agree on. In this way, nurses feel like they are personally responsible for the process.

Good managers make sure their employees understand the meaning of their work.

What do you want to do: Create a profitable product or a useful product for children?

The second opinion makes sense and is better, but does not necessarily rule out either of these goals.

Once we humans have basic needs for food and shelter, our minds begin to find ways to meet higher needs such as finding purpose in life.

When companies bring happiness with worthwhile goals, they reap many benefits. Company profits can increase by 5-15% when their employees respond positively to the statement "the company's mission makes me feel that my work is so important".

We need smart managers who give their employees the right perspective on their work.

A new tablet may be seen as a money-making tool for a greedy company, but when it is used for the right purposes, it can be a useful means of supporting children's access to knowledge. better knowledge in education.

This is why the company needs to align meaningful goals in the company mission, then hire a manager who can convince employees to work in accordance with the mission.

Cabela Company Mission – a successful outdoor equipment company: “We wholeheartedly serve people who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle by providing innovative, quality and innovative products and services. valuable."

Cabela's success is partly due to the fact that 60% of its employees fully agree with this goal. And that comes in part from Cabela's managers, who all love the outdoor lifestyle and make sure the company's workers work with the same passion.

Happy employees will continue to improve and develop their work.

The fact that you have reached this chapter in the book also means that you are eager to learn new things about the world around you. You may even enjoy new skills like cooking, writing or speaking Hindi.

This desire to grow and develop is a natural urge for the human mind.

In the first years of life, we learn to walk, write, read, ride a bicycle…, without any reward to motivate us to do so.

In this very first year, our brains develop very rapidly during the day. Our knowledge grows more and more every year.

Everyone's desire to learn doesn't stop when we finish school. Experts believe that the desire to further develop in life is controlled by electronic circuitry like in our nature.

The famous American psychologist Abraham Maslow believes that continuous development is the most important thing for human beings. The desire to grow continues to expand in the workplace.


Many companies still do not realize how satisfying and motivating their employees can have significant positive effects on the productivity of the whole organization. Companies need to learn how to motivate and motivate their employees, otherwise they will find themselves fighting hopelessly in the fiercely competitive market.

Helpful advice:

Make sure your employees have the tools they need.

If people are allowed to account for what they need to do their best work, they will feel valued and therefore more motivated. So you should always listen to your employees when they describe what they need and make sure they get it. On the contrary, you unknowingly cause frustration for employees because they cannot fulfill that request, which can lead to frustration, lower morale in the job itself in particular and the whole operation. of the company in general.