The great untapped lever to drive growth

If you were given the ‘secret sauce’, one thing to do right now to drive growth in your business, would you do it? Is growth a goal for you? Is it an idea or core to your existence? Does it excite you?

Here is the irony. I get asked weekly, if not daily, by people from all walks of our business community, how do I drive growth? And I do have a very pragmatic approach.

I know what has worked for RedBalloon. But often people don’t really like the answer. They often look at me as if to say, ‘surely it cannot be that straightforward’. It is a never, ever give up approach to noticing the contribution of each individual.

Bestselling business author Ram Charan said, “The motto of successful CEOs is ‘people first, strategy second’.”

We have heard it over and over again – it is people who innovate, drive growth and deliver the customer experience. Business is always about people. And when people are acknowledged, they feel great, you feel great and they are far more likely to give you their discretionary effort.

For years, business has been tweaking every lever it can: six sigma, the lean approach, measuring everything, and cutting expenditure everywhere. The question is “What have I got left to improve?”

Maximise your people’s experience of work and productivity simply by having a formal recognition program. Our research tells us that only around 30% of Australian businesses have any form of formal recognition program.

The simple act of consistent, authentic recognition is the most likely to give any business the next wave of growth

According to the results of a US Society for Human Resources Management/Globoforce survey, companies who follow three key recognition practices are seeing better metrics across the board.

By tying recognition back to company values, making it peer-to-peer, and investing as little as 1% of payroll, companies see upticks in metrics such as retention, enablement, engagement and even financial results. The report outlines:

  • Companies using strategic recognition are 48% more likely to report high engagement
  • Companies with peer-to-peer recognition are 35% more likely to report lower turnover
  • Companies spending as little as 1% of payroll on recognition are 79% more likely to see better financial results.

It will require focus, energy and persistence to get the returns reported, but I can attest to the fact that it is absolutely possible and worth the investment.

Naomi Simson has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded,, including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.


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