Perhaps it is my understanding and expectation of anything with ‘Handbook’ in the title, but this volume misses the mark for me.

The numerous other handbooks on my shelf can be conveniently carried as a ready source of information, are concise manuals or are reference books listing brief facts and structure for quick reference. ‘Handbook of Employee Engagement’ edited by Simon L Albrecht is none of these.

However it is a bold and detailed work on a topic which every management or HR practitioner aspires to espouse, and melds concepts, research and practical applications.

Its USP and perhaps its saving grace is the breadth of input – everything from staff nurse work engagement in Canadian hospital settings to measuring change and posing the question, ‘Does engagement flourish, fade or stay true?’ Peppered with numerous charts, models and matrices, 34 different authors contributed information, opinion and research at the level of a keynote conference speech. There is, therefore, arguably something for almost everyone within the pages. Everyone that is other than a new or possibly first-line manager, though the more pragmatic chapters at the beginning such as ‘the essence of engagement: lessons from the field’ may provide scope for reflection on one’s own practice as a leader within the organisation.

Such a dichotomy in giving this a star rating: if you are studying at graduate or post-graduate level I would highly recommend it. If not, even if you are passionate about employee engagement as I hope you are, there are other more accessible texts.

2 stars:  Below average, read if you want to be comprehensive