The Invisible Employee: Realizing the Hidden Potential in Everyone

By Adeogun, Joann | Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, April 2007 | Go to article overview

The Invisible Employee: Realizing the Hidden Potential in Everyone


Adeogun, Joann, Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship


The Invisible Employee: Realizing the Hidden Potential in Everyone Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (2006) 140 pages, Hardcover, $19.95

Losing your high impact performers is detrimental for organizations that are trying to compete within the ever changing global environment. However, losing those employees due to lack of recognition, rewards and support to the competitor is preventable. How does this happen? According to Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton employees are feeling ignored, invisible and unrecognized in businesses today. The only way that employees can win the war is to leave the "battle field" or remain hidden in the background spreading negative comments about the ineffectiveness of the organization. What organization would not embrace growth and profitability just by rewarding and recognizing its workforce? Gostick and Elton provide examples of such organizations, as well as organizations that have learned to embrace the concept of continual employee recognition and reward. Increased employee performance, satisfaction and a highly successful competitive business is the prize for these organizations that have embraced this concept. Both authors have impressive backgrounds that include writing and co-authoring the best-seller A Carrot a Day, The 24-Carrot Manager and The Integrity Advantage. What is also impressive is their extensive consulting work in the field of employee motivation.

These authors did not disappoint the reader with The Invisible Employee: Realizing the Hidden Potential in Everyone an insightful look at how organizations and managers can recognize employees through engagement and celebration. Any employee who has ever felt unappreciated, under-rewarded, unrecognized, ignored and invisible will relate to the scenarios presented by Gostick and Elton. The amazing thing is that every reader of this book can recall a past or present organization and/or manager who just did not get it. Somehow as you read this book memories of doing just enough from 9-5 to meet quota without over exerting your energy come flooding back into view. Why bother when no one noticed your contributions? Why stay late? Why come in early? Why should I care about the organization? Janet Jackson's money making single of the 80's "What have you done for me lately" depicts the feeling of total isolation and invisibility felt by many employees in today's organization and discussed in detail by Gostick and Elton. The approach of Gostick and Elton is to introduce each of the six chapters with the fictional fable of the Invisible People (Wurc-Ur Tribe) and the Highlanders that work and live on mountainous Kopani Island in the Medeokr Sea.

Chapter One - Invisible People. The role of the Wurc-Ur Tribe is to fill the vaults of the Highlanders with precious jewels, such as rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds from the mountains. In exchange, the Highlanders would leave the Fruits of the Laborer from the fields that the Wurc-Ur Tribe needed to survive. In the distant past, the Wurc-Ur Tribe lived openly with the Highlanders but had faded into the background unrecognized men and women. In fact, the Highlanders had eliminated hundreds of Wurc-Urs and those remaining worked harder without recognition of their efforts. The Wurc-Urs had perfected the art of invisibility to remain comfortable without the criticism of the Highlanders. Elders from both tribes decided it was best to leave tradition as it had become in its present state. Chapter one opens with an introduction of the roles of each member of the fictional fable or organization. The Wurc-Ur Tribe or Invisible People are employees that provide precious jewels or work; the Highlanders are managers that present the Fruits of the Laborer or money in exchange for work. Gostick and Elton then go on to support their finding of modern day employee isolation and invisibility within the organization with statistics and research from various studies. …

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