I just watched the 2018 movie documentary “Bathtubs Over Broadway”,  and am still dazzled. It seems that in the 50s, 60s and 70s, U.S. companies used to produce “Industrial Musicals” –  elaborate musical theatrical productions that look and sound like many a top-tier Broadway shows, except for the simple fact that every song, dance or scene was in celebration of a company and it’s products. Really. Top tier actors singing, dancing and regaling the virtues of a new car, a line of appliances, insurance policies, even farm equipment. Don’t believe me?…Give a listen to “My Bathroom” courtesy of American Standard.

What makes it more remarkable, aside from the high-quality talent, music and staging; is  that these costly productions had a life span of only 1-3 performances – and were only performed for audiences of company employees! Companies would have annual meetings – usually built around sales meetings, for employees and spouses (virtually all male and female respectively), and the centerpiece of these multi-day events would be this musical extravaganza  to boost morale, announce new products, poke fun at the competition, and generally demonstrate appreciation for their employees. Likewise employees looked forward to these events as it make them fee special that the company cared enough about them to indulge.

For sure, it hearkens back to a different era in business and in our society in general, when company loyalty was a more common, two-way street. Companies waved their banners proudly, and employees stayed longer…some for their entire working careers. And for sure the workplace is a different place today with decentralized workforces, electronically connected (or disconnected?) interaction and employees who change jobs more frequently than ever. That being said, what can be learned from this by-gone era.


  • Communicate with your employees. they are your brand and like your customers, don’t always show on the surface if they are uncertain or restless in their position, or if a competitor is successfully wooing them.
  • Show appreciation in genuine, real- time way. Beware the “monthly” award, as it makes it an obligation to give every month – regardless of overall performance. Reward and give recognition as warranted.


  • Mirror your companies’ attention and support. If you feel it coming to you, pay it forward to colleagues or better yet, to people who report to you. Fact is, the vast number of companies are trying to succeed and you’d be amazed how much senior management appreciates people to try and keep morale up.
  • Find small goals within your larger goals. Big quarterly numbers, and related metrics are usually well resonated. However within those, you can assemble goals to make your working environment better – even down to daily metrics. Hit those and you’d be surprised how the bigger numbers become more attainable.

You don’t have to produce boffo Broadway productions to make your employees feel cared for, and employees don’t need excessively lavish gestures to realize they’re in a good company. Smaller, regular, and sincere gestures of appreciation and accomplishment are a  good two-way street. The occasional high accomplishment fireworks show is never a bad thing too.  Implemented together, better revenue is a likely by-product. And that will keep everyone’s toes tappin’.


Author’s special note of thanks to Steve Young (r) and his co-producer, co-writer Ozzie Inguanzo, pictured here at the New Orleans Film Festival, October 2018.

The Ganon Group offers communication coaching for executives and employees across all departments: C-Suite Leadership, Sales, Customer Experience, Technical / Product Development, to improve their communication and presentation techniques. We believe everyone can “up” their game when it comes to communicating initiatives and ideas within the organization, outside to new prospects, to existing clients, or to outside media and trade organizations. www.theganongroup.com