Quantifying Love in Business

by Jonathan Cottrell


In this age of analytics, big data, business intelligence and data science, it is commonly understood that one must measure something if one wishes to manage it. Simple enough. But when it comes to something that is explicitly qualitative — a healthy, loving business culture — how might a leader go about quantifying the impact of such a workplace? Can love really be measured?

It turns out that the results of such workplaces extend far beyond the emotional and psychological well-being of its staff. In fact, the results are staggering.

Mitigating Losses

One could start by looking simply at what’s lost in the economy when businesses fail to effectively engage their employees. Gallup reports that $30.5 billion is lost every year with millennial turnover alone. Unfortunately for business owners, according to ERE Media, it costs 30 to 50 percent of annual salary levels to replace entry-level employees, 150 percent to replace mid-level employees, and a gigantic 400 percent among high-level or specialized employees. Ouch.

Gallup also shows that employee engagement drops to an abysmal 2 percent among teams with managers who ignore their employees, compared to 61 percent for teams led by managers who focus on their employees’ strengths. Given the choice, 45 percent of employees reported that, for reasons exactly like this, they would be likely or very likely to look for other jobs outside their current organization within the next year.

On the other hand, Bright Horizons reports that employees who work for “dream companies” are 11 times more likely to stay at their company than those in “dream jobs,” are 41 percent more satisfied with their job, and are 3.5 times more likely to say that their job inspires them.

Clearly, love is an effective countermeasure that can drive down the turnover many businesses face.

Increasing Outputs

Quantifying love in business doesn’t require a look at only negative numbers, either. There’s a high increase in productivity when workplace cultures are healthy. Employees who believe their managers can name their strengths are 71 percent more likely to feel engaged and energized. Every business owner should desire such teammates, as highly engaged employees are:

  • Two times more likely to help someone at work, even if they don’t ask for help;
  • Two-and-a-half times more likely to stay at work late if something needs to be done after the normal workday ends;
  • Three times more likely to do something good for the company that is not expected of them; and
  • Five times more likely to recommend that a friend or relative apply for a job at their company.

Engaging employees like this requires only minor adjustments, too. For example, 54 percent of employees who feel they can approach their manager with any type of question are highly engaged, proving again that it is simply authentic care among humans that can very often lead to greater business results.

Dollars and Sense

While extra output is helpful, love even has a direct monetary impact, too. Reports have shown that 20 percent of new recruits would switch companies for less pay were they empathetic employers. In fact, 28 percent of employees would rather have a better boss than a $5,000 raise. Furthermore, while bonuses never hurt anybody, nearly one-third of employees would much rather be recognized in a company-wide email from an executive than receive a bonus of $500.

While a culture of recognition, care, engagement and, yes, love should start with a business owner, it shouldn’t stop there, either. According to Gallup, workers’ most memorable recognition comes from an employee’s manager (28 percent), high-level leader or CEO (24 percent), the manager’s manager (12 percent), a customer (10 percent) and peers (9 percent). Everyone has a role to play.

A Simple Equation

There are so many other ways to measure the effects of a healthy business culture. But in the end, it’s a rather simple rule of life and business: Treat others how you want to be treated. Contrary to popular belief, this attitude in action will impact far more than the psychological and emotional health of workplace staff. Love equals results, and that’s the bottom-line.

A serial starter, community builder and self-proclaimed cranial nudist, Jonathan Cottrell serves entrepreneurs and their communities in Love as the chief entrepreneur officer of Hopscratch and early instigator behind local movements like #yesphx and PHX Startup Week. 

Love in Business: A Three-Part Series

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