Just as Bill Clinton had a sign in his campaign office famously declaring “The economy, stupid!”, reminding him to focus on the economy as he fought, and won, the presidential election against George H. W. Bush, every leader should have a reminder that “It’s the people, stupid!” This book helps with that reminder. From focusing on your workforce strategy at the high levels down to recognition at the individual level, Workforce of One: Revolutionizing Talent Management Through Customization will help keep workplaces mindful of employees, no matter who they are or what their role.
Despite the title, this is not a book about working alone. It’s about customizing your corporate HR offerings to individualizing right down to each and every employee. Why not? We can customize just about everything else in our lives… and now that people are coming to expect this customization, it is becoming a mark of great employers for attracting and retaining talent. Of course, the biggest “why not?” comes down to time and money. Are we going to have to double or triple our HR staff to keep up, and how much will this cost per capita anyhow? The authors argue that both are misleading mistakes. This book comes with a diagnostic to determine if this strategy is right for your company (gotta love authors who recognize that their theory might not be a one-size-fits-all!) and which of the four customization approaches would be a good match. Peppered with the kinds of case studies one would expect from a Harvard Business Press book, there are some excellent and thought-provoking ideas in here. But I suspect it would take serious buy-in from the higher-ups in your organization and considerable investment of time. It is worth a read if you are looking for a recruitment edge or a culture change to engage employees in new ways.