“Organizations for People: Caring Cultures, Basic Needs, and Better Lives” by Michael O’Malley and William F. Butler— Employee Engagement

O’Malley, Michael and William F. Butler. “Organizations for People: Caring Cultures, Basic Needs, and Better Lives”, Stanford University Press, 2019.

Employee Engagement

Amos Lassen

It seems that for as long as I can remember there has been talk about employee engagement as a way to raise corporate profits and reduce absenteeism and staff turnover. What is upsetting is that this talk has not produced better companies or better employer/employee relations and we see by evidence that incivility and instances of employee abuse are becoming worse. Since profit is the primary goal of organizations, most employees view any treatment they receive as a secondary convenience that will evaporate once corporate fortunes decline. Many employees still feel they are expendable. Profits are necessary but insufficient for corporate health. The companies featured here see their mission as to offer people a better, more fulfilling life for themselves, and they help with that holistic journey by providing those organizational elements people need to reach their potential.

To do this, they first create respectful and kind cultures that treat every person as an equal, sentient partner in the success of the company. Next, they work diligently to satisfy needs that include financial security, belonging, meaning, autonomy, self-acceptance, self-confidence, and growth. This usually results in earnest affection among people who work to live up to both the high standards of the work place or organization and their obligations to one another. “In providing a place where people can do their best work and thrive as individuals and as members of a cohesive community, everyone profits.”

“Readers are challenged to build successful organizations that are based on ‘people-centric’ principles that evolve from ‘unvarnished capitalism’ toward a refined system that continues to benefits from innovation and competitive urgency while, at the same time, maintaining a commitment to a culture based on ethical wellbeing. O’Malley and Baker introduce us to 21 companies that place people and community as the focus of their profit-making endeavors. We get countless examples of how humanity and capitalism can co-exist. 
Often leaders fail because they do not care about or are have no concern for the people they lead. O’Malley and Baker introduce us to a kind of leadership that will improve life, the lives of those led, and the members of the communities served.

Leave a Reply