Inspiration: (definition) the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
I am working with a very successful client with an incredibly inspiring mission. They can’t pay a lot, but due to their reputation they manage to attract talented individuals willing to go above and beyond to advance the organizational mission. For this organization, gains in productivity and talent are the return on investment in inspiration. So what happens if you are not a particularly inspiring organization or industry? Does it matter?
I have clients in non-sexy industries who manage to successfully articulate a value proposition for employees, whether it is stability, good pay, career growth etc… But engagement scores tend to be lower, and one can’t help but feel that some employees are there not because they LOVE it, rather they NEED it. For stability, to pay the bills while they do an MBA, for a pension etc… So I did a bit of sniffing around to find some data to see if inspiration has a bottom line impact. Enter the Fortune 500.
The most profitable companies in 2008 (profit as a % of revenue) were:
- General Electric
- Wal-Mart Stores
The following industries had the highest revenue per employee (2008):
- Petroleum refining
- Real estate
- Insurance (life; health)
The most profitable public company in the world, Exxon Mobil is famous for causing one of most devasting environmental disasters in history. Yet, this has not hampered its ability to make money. Some colleagues of mine would look at this and say: cash is king, clearly they are doing things right. Inspiration, shinspiration.
So, is there a business case for taking the time to inspire? What is it?