Like most of the Onion's articles, this one about disgruntled staff is both hilarious and worryingly close to the bone:
Taking a break from surfing the web, going out for multiple cups of coffee, and missing important work deadlines, employees at Winthrop Media complained once again Monday about being taken for granted.
The central argument of the book is that if employees are the main source of competitive advantage for leading organisations, then they must also be the main source of competitive disadvantage for the rest. The idea that you get the best out of employees by motivating and enthusing them is a red herring - far better to grind them down until they are happy to be cogs in the machine.
Of course the real message of both the Onion article and Despair inc. is that very few organisations really do the things they say they do when it comes to motivating staff. Companies say that they trust employees and believe they want to do a good job, but their management actions demonstrate the opposite.
Perhaps companies should start looking at the “Employee Experience” in the same way that the “Customer Experience” has become so fashionable. The parallels, in terms of the important messages sent consciously and unconsciously on a day to day basis, are very close. Given the low levels of employee engagement in most companies, I think it's high time they did.