[Warning – rant ahead]

Love that headline?

What if I told you that you can get more production from your employees if they are hungry? Or cold. Or tired. Or flat out exhausted. What if I told you that the most creative and innovative your employees can be is after they are sleep deprived for 3 days? And that those innovations could double your stock price?

What if I could point you to 100 arm-chair analyses that showed companies that had no healthcare were in the top 10% of all companies with respect to stock price, profit and revenue growth?

Would you make sure your employees were hungry?

Would you deprive them of sleep in order to get the best innovation ideas out of them?

Would you cancel their healthcare in order to drive profit and growth?

Some of you are nodding (I hope I never work for you) – others of you are sitting and thinking about it (I hope I never work for you) and some of you are shaking your head disgusted with the other two groups.

And you’re right for that. Yeah – we’re all judging you other two groups.

We’re judging you because in those moments where you think about driving company success by violating some pretty common moral rules you show your true colors. You show that you are not about doing the right things – you are about doing the things you have a right to do for money.

And that is part of the problem with all the hub-bub around employee engagement and recognition. Company performance is only a small part of why you should do employee engagement and recognition. In fact, you should do it even if it has some negative effect on financials. Yeah – I went there. Engagement and recognition are human things – not finanical things. 

If It Is Right – It Is Right

How many posts have you read about proving the ROI of engagement programs? How many articles, posts, tweets talk about how to show senior management the “financial value of engagement.” Too many.

Because, if you’re looking for business rationale to recognize people in your organization, you’re doing it wrong.

If you have to sell your senior manager on the ROI of engaging with your employees your CEO sucks. If your leadership team doesn’t have time to recognize and validate the work your employees are doing you now have evidence they only do their job for the money. Period. For them, engagement and recognition efforts are simply variables in an equation that gets them mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money. Again. Period.

Granted – there are limits to what any company can do to support and engage employees. But those limits get a bit blurry when you can’t prove the ROI on better employee support but for some reason the car allowances for all your executives don’t have the same scrutiny applied. What is the ROI on all those perqs you spread like peanut butter across everyone on mahogany row? How can you say THAT is important, but training for managers on how engagement works isn’t?

I know I’m being facetious to prove a point. Of course you need to plan the expense of engagement and recognition. Of course you have to put some boundaries around this. But when you don’t require the same due diligence for executive perqs and other questionable business expenses you are simply being thick. And a bit callous and a bit disconnected. And just a lousy manager.

Don’t be that guy or gal.

Be a good manager. Do engagement. Do recognition. Do employee support.

Don’t worry about the ROI – worry about ROH – return on humanity. (#returnonhumanity #ROH)

Off the soap box now – you can go back to your regularly scheduled blog reading on how radishes will drive employee engagement.