Episode 100.5 – Green Apple Slice


The Case for Investing More in People


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Harvard Business Review article, “The Case for Investing More in People” by Eric Garton.


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    Good morning. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices where every Monday, I bring in my co-host partner in crime, Rachel Fisch. Rachel, how are you doing?

    Rachel: Good, John. How are you doing?

    John: Doing great. The Accountants Group Leader for Sage in Canada, I think. Did I get that right?

    Rachel: Yeah, you did. You did.

    John: I have a streak going now. I have like four in a row. I’m just so good. I’m so good.

    Rachel: I think that’s a record.

    John: We should probably stop the episode now while I’m ahead and don’t say anything else.

    Rachel: You keep threatening that and yeah, we keep going so we’ll just keep going.

    John: That’s true. I like a good challenge. Before we get started though, Rachel, really fast. Super, super important. Everybody, pay attention here. I have to say happy birthday to our comedy critique, Madelaine, who’s the one who listens to all our podcasts to make sure they’re funny enough to send out so hopefully of course Madelaine is your daughter and absolutely hilarious herself.

    Rachel: Of course. Happy birthday, baby. Yeah, and over this weekend I think she had a pretty cool birthday moment. I was able to take her to the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games where her favorite artist Alessia Cara was performing so that was pretty cool and of course mom got a little treat with Sarah McLachlan and The Tenors too so it was good for everybody.

    John: Wow. Yeah, cool mom alert right there. That is awesome. So yeah, so Madelaine, you better give this one five out of five stars or we’re going to have to talk.

    Rachel: Happy birthday, honey.

    John: Yeah, but how was Sage Sessions?

    Rachel: Sage sessions was fantastic. I got to spend some time with other accountants and bookkeepers in Vancouver while I was there then got to come home and spend the weekend with some Invictus events in Toronto which were absolutely fantastic. Check out my Twitter, @FischBooks for some of the pictures and things that were going on there which were fantastic and then actually, this week, we also as well as some Invictus events, we also have the Institute for Professional Bookkeepers of Canada annual conference which I’ll be speaking at so I’m really excited about that. Lots going on.

    John: Look at you! Just dropping that, “I’ll be speaking at.” Nice! Very cool.

    Rachel: Just drop that in there.

    John: Yeah, you’re on fire.

    Rachel: Yeah, it’s fun.

    John: I’m not the speaker anymore. You are. This is great. It’s so good.

    Rachel: Sorry, John who? What?

    John: Yeah, exactly. I’m just going to the intro the episodes and then let you drop knowledge bombs and then I’ll come in and close it out and that’s the new format.

    Rachel: That sounds fantastic.

    John: But until then, we will talk through articles that we find online and this one’s really, really good in Harvard Business Review so there’s some big words so I had to have you explain those to me which was awfully kind of you.

    Rachel: No, but it breaks it down to three points which is great but I’ll let you do the intro here. I don’t want to take your job.

    John: The article is just the Case for Investing More in People. An article by Eric Garton. And I mean this is what the whole green apple message is about and it’s what I firmly believe in and it’s just he just talks about how this kind of chicken or an egg question is our economy having low productivity per person because we’ve underinvested in the human capital or are we unable to invest in our people because there’s structural factors that are permanently reducing the productivity that we’re not putting the money in or is it that the machine is broken.

    Rachel: Right, yeah. And we’ve actually talked about this has come in some other articles that we’ve done which is great because I think that just means we’re being consistent here on where we think these issues are, but absolutely that’s kind of the problem is then what do you fix first? Do you fix those systemic issues that might increase productivity or does it have to start with the people?

    John: Yeah, yeah. We’ve gone over it and it definitely starts with investing with your people and I mean I’d like to give a quick mention to Steve Snyder. He was on the Green Apple Podcast a couple of months ago. He’s with Stan Bonnes, and I remember his quote just being, “If you take care of your people, all things will fall into place.” So like you said, it breaks it down to three points. Wages, time, and energy. And yeah, I think wages is the one that we all think of first just because it’s oh, investing in your people, it’s just paying them more.

    Rachel: Yeah, except that paying them more without recognizing value or without just the belief that you are genuinely investing in these people I think you know, throwing more money on their payroll is not necessarily the solution but making sure that you’re actively investing in your staff in a few different ways and it mentions that here, wages is just one of them.

    John: Right, I mean that’s exactly right. And a lot of people think too that oh, well, if we increase the wages then we’re going to increase the prices and it’s like well, not really because if you have happier staff and happier teams then they’re doing more work so it all averages out in the end.

    And the point number 2 is time. And I thought this was really, really good.

    Rachel: It was and kind of shocking that it says on average, managers have fewer than seven hours a week not a day of uninterrupted time to actually do deep work as opposed to shallow work. I mean how many times you know, going in your regular work day that you feel like you’re being hold in a million directions that you don’t really feel like you’re able to dig in and get something done, it’s like that’s why you have a work at home day so you can kind of shut off the phones and get stuff done. That’s why you do some work at home and at the evening instead of during the day because you’re packed full of meetings so what are those types of things?

    And I really liked when it was talking about giving managers more time to do deep thinking can unlock innovations and this is actually something that Randi Zuckerberg at Accountex had mentioned is do your own hackathon. So when we talk about a hackathon, it’s when we have like different startups and things like that kind of come together and just no idea’s a bad idea, just kind of throw it out. What can you create and what can you innovate?

    She said do that in your own company. Shut off the phones, get rid of the distractions and just say you know, if we were our own worse competitor, best competitor, what would our firm look like? How would we be different than how we are right now and then just let the creative juices fly. So I thought that was a great challenge.

    John: No, that is really great because everyone always thinks you know, just keep moving forward, keep moving forward and sometimes, it’s okay to take your foot off the gas and pause for a little bit to reassess and innovate and think through some things and then you end up way ahead of where you would’ve been had you just kept moving forward.

    Rachel: Absolutely.

    John: So really, really great example. Yeah, yeah absolutely and then the third point was energy. And that’s I guess what we’ve talked about before, right? With disengaged employees and then engaged employees and then the inspired.

    Rachel: And then inspired employees. Absolutely. So this article is saying that only one in eight employees are inspired. When we’re talking about inspired, that’s even beyond the engaged like it would be amazing if all your employees were engaged, we know that they aren’t actually. Because we have actively disengaged, satisfied engaged, and then inspired, and so if only one out of eight of your employees are inspired, I mean that’s when the magic stuff right?

    John: Absolutely. That is. Yeah, I mean right there in the article it says that the inspired employees are more than twice as productive as a satisfied employee and I mean that’s a multiplier effect right there for sure which is why you are on the Green Apple Podcast Slices. That’s it. That’s the multiplier. Rachel Fisch, you are the energy.

    So there we go. Have a great time at IPBC and can’t wait to hear how your session goes. And yeah, have a great rest of the week, Rachel.

    Rachel: Great. Thanks so much, John.

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