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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Book review: Revolution in a Heartbeat


HRZone has a range of books available for review. If you would like to receive one of our business books, free of charge, please contact the editor on editor at hrzone dot com and we can send you a list of what’s available. In return, we ask for a 400-700 word review of the book, its content and whether it’s appropriate for a senior HR director audience and for business professionals looking to become more effective in their roles.

Book: Revolution in a Heartbeat: Using emotional insights to drive and better business performance​
Author: Matt Stephens
ISBN: 9784911498452
Reviewer: Sobia Nazir
Rating: 4 out of 5

Matt Stephen distinctively explores the ‘Heartbeat’ of employees, not only questioning how engaged employees are but he also provides insight to the importance of measuring and understanding the ongoing process of employee engagement.

Throughout the discourse, Matt marries up the concept of employee engagement and the emotional intelligence of understanding employee engagement.

Whether you are a HR professional or a business leader, the beauty of this book is it actually speaks to you. It definitely is a must read for those that have an interest in communication, engagement and organisational performance.

Matt simplifies employee engagement; a common buzzword that is imperative and fundamental to everyday practice. This is highlighted through the structure of the book – eight chapters that are thought provoking with real time added value.

I particularly was in favour of how throughout Matt demonstrates why traditional surveys are problematic, and he does this through providing case studies of where he has utilised his own technological outbreak of “heartbeat”.

This gives the reader fresh perspectives in challenging environments and insights to why they do not work, and the common factors which are mainly overlooked across all organisations regularly around the design of the survey.  He provides questioning to what the central purpose of the survey is. And as an employer what do we want from this survey?

Matt illustrates the different approaches organisations take to recognise and gain better understanding, as well as to increase organisational performance from his concept of having regular pulse checks: “Heartbeat helps identify processes that get in the way…it shows the vital importance of clarity about business objectives”.  

What is also apparent is the emphasis on others’ work and thinking: these points of referencing fits in nicely with the structure of each chapter, adding that extra touch.

The book then moves on to the analysis of the results of the surveys – a shared theme across organisations is identified as ‘leadership’ issues – “the nature of leadership in modern business”.

In Chapter 6 there is an interview between Matt Stephens and Dominic Walters, Director of Coaching, who works alongside Matt. Their interview highlights the importance of leadership and employee engagement, the difference between management and leadership including skills, and how this is influenced by “heartbeat” – “give people a purpose and create the environment in which they can achieve it.” I couldn’t agree more.

Overall, Matt has shared his views on the revolution on engagement and measuring employee emotions, rightly taking the stance of involving employees – what do we want them to think and what do we want them to feel?

A much recommended and welcomed read.

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence