There is plenty of data out there touting the ROI (Return On Investment) of happy (read “engaged”) employees. Most of the information is based on corporate organizations because it’s easier to quantify there. Corporate America has an easy scorecard to read—it’s called a Profit and Loss Statement. Data indicates that the average ROI of a happy employee in the corporate world comes in at around 1.5 times the annual salary of that employee added to the company’s bottom line.
Ok. That’s nice. We’re not corporate America. We’re government.
And there is a fair amount of data pointing to the ROI of happy, engaged government employees. Organizations with more engaged employees experience fewer lawsuits, fewer complaints about discrimination, fewer bad leaders, and less bullying. (Yes, those are actually symptoms of employee dissatisfaction, not the cause of it.) They have better success at recruiting new talent, lower attrition rates, and less productivity lost to sick days and unscheduled leave.
But why does that really matter? After all, we’re not a for profit entity. So much of what we “produce” in government isn’t accurately quantified by simple numbers. We don’t make widgets, and we don’t generate revenue, so why does happy really matter?
From my perspective the ROI of happy in government is far higher and more important than anything that can be counted with a simple tally sheet. Whatever your personal thoughts about the administration in place at any given time, the people who make our nation work–the ones who make the gears turn–are those in the trenches, on the line, manning the desks every single day regardless of the political winds that blow.
But enough about the organization, let’s talk about you. What’s the ROI on happy for you?
Pull out your pen and paper here because I actually want you to write down the answers to these questions.
What does frustration, burn-out, and stress COST you?
Said another way, if you had twice as much energy, enthusiasm, and resilience…
- What would you be doing?
- What would you be saying?
- What would you be enjoying?
- Who would you be with?
- Where would you be living?
- What would you be earning?
I had a conversation with someone last week who estimated his lack of energy, enthusiasm, and resilience was costing him $10-15K a year. Why? As his frustration leaked out, he alienated the very people who could help him get promoted. Each year he was passed over cost him $10-15K in additional income. (And that’s even before we talk about high 3 retirement calculations.)
Why am I asking you to do this?
I’m asking you to do this because I have no interest in making you better at numbing out and tolerating stuff. I’m interested in seeing you step into the next highest version of YOU.
That can only happen when you get really clear on what tolerating frustration, burn-out, and unhappiness in YOURSELF is costing YOU on a very real, quantifiable level.
Only then will you have the capacity to do something about it.
See, no matter how badly something does or does not suck, human nature will fight to maintain status quo because status quo is “safe.” Human nature will only allow you to make a change when the “cost” (or level of pain) associated with tolerating status quo exceeds the imagined fear of doing something different.
Having the courage to quantify the cost of staying the same is the first step to creating something new.
This is my challenge to you: Take the time to write down your costs. Then post them in the comments below!
Trust me, your greatness is worth it.