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  • Writer's pictureTeam @ Brown Bag App

Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” and Employee Engagement

I am a Malcolm Gladwell fan as you might be as well. I found The Tipping Point, Outliers and Blink to be both fun and thought provoking. And I have seen some HR professionals/authors even quote some of Gladwell’s ideas in the context of employee engagement, but that was about as far as it went.

At Brown Bag, we started with a simple concept, ‘Random Lunch with 6 unknown co-workers’. In thinking about that initial idea and now where we are going as we talk to our customers, it triggered a thought in my head about Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point – How Little things Can Make a Big Difference” and I said isn’t that what we are doing? Can a little thing like lunch with co-workers make a big difference within a company and if and how employees can feel engaged? While we have clearly expanded out the concept and features within the Brown Bag app, I really wanted to discuss how we can achieve more engaged employees by understanding the types of individuals we could have within our organization and how a little thing like lunch could have big benefits.

Gladwell identified three types of individuals: Connectors – those who know lots of people; Mavens – those who collect information and share it, i.e. information brokers; and Salesmen – those individuals who are very persuasive, who are listened to.

Within company’s today, large or small we have individuals who can be identified as Collectors, Mavens or Salesman and they may not be the CEO or a manager. It could be peers who have great sway over other peers, managers or subordinates and can positively or negatively impact Employee Engagement. In fact, one of the studies I quoted in a previous blog post identified that peers have a greater influence over employee satisfaction than direct supervisors.

What if we could identify and tap into these distinct personality traits, couldn’t we build a more engaged company, with higher levels of employee engagement yielding positive benefits to the company and to the individuals?

I believe that we at Brown Bag unknowingly tapped into these individuals and created a simple way for these personas to positively engage with each other at all levels and thereby build a high level of engaged employees. Whether it be a random lunch for instance with new people, a Connectors dream; a Topic based event, the Maven’s playground; or scheduled events and meetings, a Salesman’s forte; the Brown Bag app allows the company and the employees to engage, communicate and bond through something so simple, like a lunch.

Perhaps as Gladwell said “…little things can make a big difference”.

We invite you to try the Brown Bag app and see if it helps get you to the Tipping Point of High Employee Engagement.


Howard Schechter

Co-Founder & CRO

Brown Bag

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