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March 12, 2008

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Hug Your People

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 5:04 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Hug Your People: The Proven Way to Hire, Inspire and Recognize Your Employees and Achieve Remarkable Results, by Jack Mitchell, Hyperion, 288 pages, $19.95, Hardcover, March 2008, ISBN 9781401322373
Some of you may recall Jack Mitchell's last book, Hug Your Customers. In it he discussed how to nurture and maintain customer relationships using his "hug" method. In his new offering, Mitchell's embrace of his customer base has been expanded to his employees. He noticed that if there is not praise or recognition for a job well done, there isn't the same incentive to try again--even when one maintains the monetary comfort from the job.
It is not complicated to comprehend that people are happy and content when they are rewarded in humane ways, but people often forget that they are dealing with, well, other people. Mitchell stresses that we shouldn't lose the humanity in business relations and that everyone needs a hug. A random hug in this day and age may result in sexual harassment, so hugs can and should take on different forms. He suggests many ways to do this, from using a nickname, to a quick email recognizing a good job or an unexpected little token/gift from a superior or co-worker.
The Mitchell Blueprint to hugging your employees has five principles: Nice, Trust, Pride, Include and Recognize. He goes into all these aspects in the book, giving examples of each principle. In the Nice chapter, for instance, he explains how important it is to just be nice to people, and how easy it can be. He shows how easy it can be to forget this as well. One simple way companies stay "Nice" is by getting "Nice" employees. Mitchell suggests different ways to notice these traits, many in an interview--the handshake, meeting eyes, the way they sit--and offers open ended questions to use in this situation such as "Share the nicest thing you've done to another person" or "Who is the nicest person you know."
Mitchell also talks about the importance of maintaining a fun working atmosphere. Sure, business has to get done, but like his son Bob tells his people during a meeting, "Let's all make twenty customer calls today, but let's have fun doing it." It is in this atmosphere that the Trust Principle comes into play. People that work for a "fun" place also have to take responsibility for their actions and how they affect others.
The Mitchell Blueprint, with its five principles, helps companies develop ways they can incorporate "hugs" in their company. Each principle makes up a part of the book, and each part contains a study guide. This may seem elementary to a lot of business people (and it should) but it is a great reminder that people like to be assured, patted on the back and given a hug once in awhile, and this book reminds us all of that.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.