Build It Book Summary By Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey

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Build It (2018) is a book that dives into the core of what drives success in business: employee engagement.

Authored by Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey, this path-breaking work has uncovered the tactics used by some of the best-known businesses from around the world.

Through researching over 2,000 companies, they have been able to pin down how these businesses keep their workers motivated and productive.

The result of their study? A new HR rulebook which encourages business owners to break away from convention and redefine their approach to improving employee engagement.

Build it is designed to help you do just that - make monumental changes in your business and exceed all expectations!

Build It Book

Book Name: Build It (The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement)

Author(s): Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 35 Minutes

Categories: Corporate Culture

Author Bio

Build It is written by two experienced, award-winning professionals with a wealth of knowledge; Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey.

Glenn is an entrepreneur, author and speaker, who is also the founder of Reward Gateway; a leader in employment engagement technology.

Debra is an accomplished writer and speaker who has over 30 years experience on boards at Gap, Quintiles and Merlin Entertainment.

She also works with Reward Gateway providing invaluable HR expertise.

Together they have created an informative and helpful book that offers great insight into business building and development.

Companies Need To Re-Design Their Workforces And Create Engaging Environments To Thrive


Engaging and satisfied employees are the key to success for any business in today’s technologically driven world.

In Build It, authors Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey introduce their radical Engagement Bridge™ approach to management, HR and unlocking employee productivity.

The Engagement Bridge™ is designed to help employers defeat drudgery by changing how they think about their employees – instead of treating them as adversaries or resources, it encourages them to build relationships with workers based on trust, respect and support.

Aside from providing a thoughtfully designed workplace with both autonomy and excitement, employers can also benefit from some simple tips that maximize employee satisfaction:

The Benefits Of Employee Engagement And How To Cultivate It With The Engagement Bridge™

If you want to get the most out of your business, having an engaged team is essential.

Engagement isn’t simply about making employees feel happy – what makes them engaged is understanding their role in the organisation and believing in it’s direction and mission.

Employees who feel engaged are invested in their employer’s success, which has a multitude of benefits for businesses.

They tend to make better decisions and are less likely to be absent from work.

As technology changes at an unprecedented pace, having an engaged workforce will be critical if companies are going to thrive.

Take Marks & Spencer as an example – internal research showed that stores with higher engagement meant twice as likely receiving the highest service rating – this difference is remarkable.

The need for engagement is now more important than ever; without it, businesses may struggle to keep up with the changing times, like Blockbuster which failed to cope with the advent of online streaming services and drastically decreased its market share as a result.

Given these facts, fostering engagement is crucial for any modern organization looking for success – which is why Build It authors have come up with their Engagement Bridge™ program designed especially for that purpose!

Creating A More Engaged And Productive Workforce With The Engagement Bridge™

The Engagement Bridge model by Elliott and Corey is designed to help you create a more engaged, productive workforce.

It identifies ten areas that are crucial for cultivating engagement in your workplace – seven “beams” and three supporting “rocks.” Based on more than 10 years of research spanning over 2000 companies, this model is crafted to ensure that you successfully develop an engaged workplace.

The beams can be divided into four subcategories: open and honest communication, clearly defined purpose, mission and values, leadership and management, as well as job design, learning and recognition.

All these components are necessary for the best constructions – but depending on your business goals and needs – some might take precedence over other elements of Engagement Bridge™!

When it comes to the boulders that support the bridge however, focusing on them won’t create a sense of engagement alone – but without taking them into account, any engagement concept won’t reap sustainable results in the long term.

These include elements such as pay and benefits, workspace and wellbeing.

Pay attention to how money matters; how employees move through their office space; as well as their physical & mental health plus financial solvency.

Creating An Honest And Open Workplace To Increase Employees’ Trust And Engagement

Trust And Engagement

Companies need to stop lying to their employees and embrace honesty and openness if they want to create a productive working atmosphere.

This applies to all companies, big or small.

Lying and dishonesty are unfortunately quite common in many business practices today, such as with interviews where applicants typically present a carefully crafted version of themselves just to get the job.

Or there are legal departments that fill policies and contracts with obscure clauses and subclauses in order to scare employees from challenging them.

All these tactics lead to mistrust between employers and staff, which is particularly noticeable towards the lower rungs of the hierarchy.

In order for businesses t

Creating And Defining A Clear Mission, Purpose And Values Is Essential For Achieving Long-Term Success

If a business has a clearly defined purpose it makes a big difference to the success of that business and in how engaged their employees are.

Reward Gateway is an example of this – they define their purpose as wanting to make workplaces better places to work because they believe people deserve meaningful jobs and that businesses perform better when people are engaged.

They have communicated their values clearly, which includes “clever company, no muppets,” “have a crack” etc.

This drives the way in which they think and operate on a daily basis.

Adam Grant, professor at Wharton Business School, did some research where he discovered that if teachers identified with their job then they were much less likely to suffer stress and burn-out so it’s imperative that businesses take steps to ensure their employees are engaging with the purpose of the company.

It’s also important that businesses get input from their employees when it comes to defining what values mean most to them as this will help shape the organizational culture for them too.

All in all, if you make sure your business has a clearly defined purpose then your employees will be much more likely to engage and find meaning in what they do.

How To Align Management Practices With Company Values For Maximum Engagement

If you want to use the Build It Model for your organization and create a successful business environment, it’s not enough to just tell people what your values are – you have to set an example and put them into action.

This means making sure that your management team understands the values of the company and acts in line with them, giving employees what they were promised rather than something completely different.

Take Elliott’s story as an example – he was met with clauses in his contract which didn’t match up with what he had been promised by upper management.

This sort of contradiction caused confusion and frustration among the staff, so it’s essential that any policy or contracts associated with employees reflect the stated values of the company.

To ensure success, companies need to include wellness benefits that engage their management team, like Gap Inc.’s Grow.


Succeed (GPS) system.

This performance review approach focuses on personal goals and is based on honest reviews from managers and peers alike – where else can you get such valuable insight? Harvard Business School has even taken this system as part of its MBA program!

Failing to live up to declared values may seem insignificant but makes all the difference when it comes to engagement – people will appreciate seeing their employers put their words into action.

So don’t just tell people what your values are; lead by example and make your policies reflect those same values!

Great Leadership Is About More Than Just Making Sound Decisions – It’S About Including Employees In The Decision-Making Process

Great Leadership

Leaders who are authentic and engaged have the capacity to act as role models, inspiring their employees and making a positive mission-driven impact.

This is especially true in today’s world where Glassdoor makes employee feedback an openly available resource.

Halfords has implemented an innovative leadership model that serves to demonstrate the importance of respect and trust between leaders and their teams.

This approach has boosted their sales by a full 13 percent over the last five years!

St John Ambulance, on the other hand, puts its employees right at the center of decision-making through consultation sessions; by giving them a chance to contribute in important conversations, everyone is more invested in finding successful solutions that make sense for everyone involved.

Well-Designed Jobs Are Key To Employee Engagement And Satisfaction

In the eighteenth century, Adam Smith’s production line model promoted efficiency but neglected the importance of job satisfaction.

Today, most jobs are still based on this outdated model and prioritize quantity over quality of work in too many organizations.

This ignores one of the key factors to boosting engagement: job design.

Well-designed, high engagement jobs should be challenging while providing employees with autonomy and control.

We can look to Valve Corporation as an example of a successful flat hierarchy which gives every employee freedom to innovate and follow their instincts, or HubSpot where reducing team sizes has aided communication and encouraged employee autonomy.

It is essential to create joyous work environments if we are to truly engage employees.

When poorly designed, boring jobs feed disengagement, we need to let them go – it’s time for businesses to acknowledge that job design is key for increased employee engagement.

The Key To Encouraging Employee Learning And Development Is Giving Them Freedom And Focusing On The Future

When building a workplace, it’s important to pay attention to the learning opportunities you provide employees.

People and organizations do best when employees are given room to grow and develop, which is now easier than ever before with the countless educational technologies out there.

However, for those learning opportunities to really excel, companies need more of an intrinsic focus on developing their workforce through job design that provides enough freedom and space for experimentation and occasional missteps.

This sort of approach should look ahead at what preparedness your staff needs for future tasks, not just immediate projects.

A great example of this can be seen with KFC Australia’s #myplan program which allows younger workers (with an average age of 17) to articulate their long-term goals and dreams beyond the restaurant itself.

This program was such a success that 4,000 employees took part in its first year alone!

The development process doesn’t just happen, though; you need analyze current initiatives already in place in order to understand why you want to introduce learning strategies into your office culture and how they fit into your overall plans.

Once these steps are taken and goals clearly identified, it’s time to design an effective training structure that gives people the opportunity for personal growth – a critical element in any successful business model!

Why Timely And Continuous Recognition Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement

When it comes to employee recognition, companies often fail in how they try to express appreciation for their workers.

Too often, firms opt for impersonal “recognition” programs that do little more than waste money and leave people feeling under appreciated.

Such is the case of Elliott, whose efforts were initially noticed and praised by a boss, but then followed by an impersonal letter from HR that arrived too late.

Studies show that across the United States alone, over $46 billion per year is spent on reward programs with very little tangible result.

This money is largely directed towards rewards for extended tenure rather than meaningful expressions of gratitude for current work being done–leaving employees feeling unacknowledged regardless of years of service or even the occasional exceptional project.

To truly make employees feel seen, heard and valued, organizations need to put into place systems which emphasize continuous and timely recognition–not just every few years or upon retirement.

Such was the case at DIY retailer Homeserve, who implemented a 4-tier recognition program–ranging from annual/quarterly awards to personal e-cards recognizing day-to-day effort–that reaped incredible success within its inaugural year alone.

A particular benefit is that this system not only allows seniority to be recognized but also encourages peer-to-peer recognition among workers.

Pay Fairly And Use Benefits As Cultural Differentiators To Avoid Employee Disengagement

Employees don’t just want money; they want to be treated fairly and feel valued.

This was driven home in an experiment involving two capuchin monkeys.

When one monkey was given a tastier grape rather than the cucumber the other one got, it threw its cucumber away!

That’s a demonstration of how unfairness can result in disengagement.

This idea has been backed up by recent studies showing income inequality as the key contributor to employee stress.

It’s essential that companies strive for fairness when it comes to salary and bonuses, with equal pay for workers on similar levels being particularly important.

As demonstrated brilliantly by software company Basecamp, putting part of annual profits into base salaries is an effective way of addressing this issue.

It’s also important that employers seek out employee feedback on these matters through surveys or meetings.

By knowing what employees value and want changed, companies can better cater to their individual needs and create fairer policies where everyone feels heard and valued.

It Takes More Than A Refurbishment To Create An Engaging Working Environment

Working Environment

Flexible working conditions shouldn’t be a thing of luxury, but rather the standard.

In today’s ever-changing workplace, offices need to adapt to their employees’ needs and wants.

By introducing more agile working styles, businesses can ensure that their staff are comfortable and productive.

Agile working means having the flexibility to move between tasks throughout the day depending on what is needed; this could mean taking calls in one section of the office and writing content in another.

This type of operative style improves productivity as it gives workers a chance to stretch out and refocus during their workday.

On top of that – it also plays an important role in promoting collaboration among coworkers, while encouraging collegial dialogue and discussion which often leads to creativity and innovation from these conversations.

Technology plays an essential role in creating this flexibly working environment as well – outdated systems can make for too much frustration for workers when trying to find what they need.

Employers should invest time in updating their systems so that access is easy for everyone involved; this will lead to less stress from finding documents or other information when needed.

However, employers should also be conscious that certain reforms might be met with initial resistance – oftentimes it takes experimentation before the best practices can emerge, however sticking to the plan will eventually see through good results.

General Electric’s Sydney offices implemented agile workspaces which saw pushback at first – but ultimately ended up becoming highly successful when given a chance over time!

It’s recommended then that employers conduct an audit of what they have versus what they need before any changes are made– are there enough quiet spaces? Do they require more meeting rooms? Is comfortability an issue? Once these analytics have concluded, employees should get involved and weigh in with their views – you never know what might happen when brainstorming occurs!

The Importance Of Holistic Health For Employee Engagement And Productivity

If you want to get the best out of your employees and ensure that they stay productive, you need to pay attention to their wellbeing.

According to a 2016 study, the average worker took four days of sick leave annually.

However, most employees reported being too stressed or tired on an additional 57 days over the course of the year!

This is why taking care of both mental and financial health is essential for employee productivity.

Many companies already provide healthy food options and gym memberships for their employees in order to promote well-being.

But these are not enough and further steps should be taken in order to guarantee maximum engagement.

That’s why Travis Perkins PLC started a financial wellbeing program that maps out milestones in life like buying a house or having kids, allowing them to design special programs and take a personalized approach towards financial stability.

Weebly even went so far as giving six weeks of fully paid leave plus a round-trip airfare ticket anywhere in the world for its staff members who have been there five years or longer – this way they can recharge their batteries and prevent burnout before it sets in.

It’s clear that investing in employees’ wellbeing will result not only in increased productivity but also innovation – so don’t neglect it if you want your business results to soar!

The Key To Engagement Is Defining Your Mission And Understanding Universal Principles

Universal Principles

When it comes to engagement and workplace dynamics, there isn’t one solution that fits all.

That’s why it’s important to employ some basic principles that have worked for generations.

Models such as communication, trust, and asking for feedback from employees can help you lay the foundation for success.

Beyond that, however, you have to take a granular approach based on the organization’s needs.

That means developing mission goals and objectives tailored to your specific situation.

For instance, Netflix focuses on having great colleagues while Amazon focuses on customer-centric leadership.

Just remember, no two work environments are exactly alike so sometimes there isn’t a definitive answer.

But by utilizing your intuition and wisdom in addition to these fundamental principles, you’ll create the ideal environment where both company and employee thrive!

Wrap Up

The Build it book offers a total guide on achieving a successful organization through employee engagement.

It lays out 10 essential factors to evaluate: communication, purpose, leadership, management, job design, learning, recognition, pay & benefits, workspace and well-being.

By studying these elements, you’ll be able to identify where your organization is lacking and develop an effective plan for improving engagement.

Your first step should be to assess your company in each of the areas and think about where you can make quick changes.

Those may include introducing open communication channels or designing jobs that are meaningful for employees.

This model emphasizes that the success of a modern business depends heavily on the level of engagement its employees feel.

Investing in hourly workers by recognizing their achievements and creating supportive workspaces is not just beneficial for them – it contributes to making your organization more productive and successful.

Make sure you take action today – don’t give in to inertia!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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