BRAIN FOOD: It just might work Honesty's pay-off

BRAIN FOOD: It just might work Honesty's pay-off - Managers tend to disregard investment in people, even though great benefits can often come at low cost, or none at all. Here, virtue is more than its own reward, if you believe a study of hotels by Tony S

Managers tend to disregard investment in people, even though great benefits can often come at low cost, or none at all. Here, virtue is more than its own reward, if you believe a study of hotels by Tony Simons in Harvard Business Review. He asked 6,500 Holiday Inn employees whether their managers delivered on promises and practised what they preached. A one-eighth of a point rise in this 'behavioural integrity' (using a five-point scale) equates with a profitability jump of 2.5% of revenues. In other words, financial performance is seriously damaged by inconsistency, hypocrisy and 'flavour of the month' management that flits from one HR 'initiative' to another. New-fangled nostrums, it would seem, pay off slower and lower than good old-fashioned honesty.

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