“The ROI for a team that grows and flourishes is….

….whatever it means to you,” I thought when the man asked me about the ROI on my concept of focusing the human resource process (posting, hiring, managing, promoting, leading, coaching, disciplining and, when necessary, firing).  He answered his own question before I responded.

ROI seems pretty fluid to me, and to the people that I have worked for, coached and worked with.  And so it should be.

“I have a good team.  They are all talented, but there is some tension and other issues.  I’m not as concerned about a huge performance change as much as a decrease in the tension and for me to have to ‘babysit’ them less.”  A local business owner shared her thoughts about the team situation for her company that has four employees.  The main return on investment that she wanted was for decreased tension, less drama and a happier environment at work.  She knew that the change of conditions would enable her team’s capabilities to grow with the business, and both the business and her team would flourish.

“I need to add a contract employee.  What do you think about this job posting?” the executive director asked.  Measuring ROI should begin with the job posting.  Team development begins with the job posting, too. The investment of time in posting, searching, interviewing, hiring and the probationary period is certainly nontrivial, and the “return” should be a successful hire of an employee that contributes to the organization’s success.  Unfortunately, the posting I was asked to review seemed to fly in the face of the allowed expectations of a 1099 employee.  I suggested that he contact an HR professional for a review (the job had already been posted), and I pointed out some expectations in the job that would tend to filter out the most capable, experienced candidates.

Examples range from ineffective committee/team development, to septic office chemistry, to ill-advised placement of offices and/or employees, to processes and programs that stymy growth.

Quit thinking of the team as a group of people to put on a bus to carry out a mission.  Think of placing them in ways that encourage, empower and expect growth and flourishing.  Think of the workplace’s culture as one that can use the chemistry of diversity, the synergy of growth, the power of “pruning” and “harvesting”… think of the culture like a garden.

Planting seeds, transplanting plants, fertilizing, companion planting, pruning, harvesting, weeding and more…they all apply to the culture of your organization.  The ROI depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Is ROI a percent sales increase, a reduction in days off by a certain amount, improvement in morale by whatever indicators your business uses, or…?  Each company and organization measures for different things, and everyone wants a return on investment.  In some ways, asking for the ROI regarding a team that grows and flourishes is like asking for the ROI for drinking water.  You can measure it many different ways, but those simply justify what you know to be true and critical.

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