The Price of Indifference
Updated: Jun 14, 2018
Did you know that disengaged employees cost the US economy over $500 billion dollars a year in waste, mismanagement and loss? Gallup polls suggest the number of disengaged employees at 51% and 16% as actively disengaged - completely indifferent to their role and contributions in an organization. Other polls suggest even higher percentages for disengaged employees. Employee dissatisfaction and disengagement can have a huge price on the bottom line of your organization or business.
Authentic workplaces purposely engage employees and build a cultural environment where these costs are mitigated, reduced and minimized. An effective employee engagement program can save thousands, even millions, of dollars for medium to large size companies. How would you rate the engagement of your employees? How would you score the overall satisfaction of your workforce? What price is employee indifference, apathy or fear based decision making methods having on your bottom line?
A lot of different variables impact statistics regarding employee engagement. A company's size, industry, geographic location and business model all contribute to the data sources used for determining your specific organization's actual engagement profile.
How to determine the price of indifference?
Determining the price of indifference, apathy and fear based decision making methods can require specific research, data collection and analysis. For example, we recently conducted a project for a well known QSR - Fast Food Restaurant Franchisee analyzing the price of indifference for day-to-day operations. The result was staggering! The average operations team was responsible for a daily cost of $32.89 in waste, loss or mismanagement. The end result was an annual expense of $12,000+ p/year for each location. What were the primary contributing factors for these costs? Fear based decisions, indifference and apathy.
Defining the psychology behind disengaged employees:
1. Fear based decisions - fear based decisions occur when an employee, out of fear, makes a decision that is not in the best interest of the customer or the organization; but, is acted upon due to perceived fear and/or anticipated backlash from senior management. Fear based decisions happen for varying reasons. The goal of any organization should be to cultivate an atmosphere where fear is removed and engagement, trust and transparency are encouraged and embraced. Fear based decisions can lead to cheating or faking documentation on a report because a demand for the report is imminent. Or, an employee is concerned about their job and uses poor judgment regarding how to handle certain decisions. Authentic workplaces purposefully work to remedy these elements within their culture and promote those decision making methods that remove fear from the process.
2. Indifference - indifference is best defined in the expression - "I just don't care." For the employer the question is "Why?" and for the employee the mindset is "you tell me why". When employees don't relate, engage or care they do little to contribute toward profitability of the business, customer satisfaction and improving operations. This specifically is a struggle in the restaurant industry where quite often the minimum wage workforce does not embrace these values - they are present because they have a job. How does an organization convert the mindset of this specific demographic to motivate results? Engagement! Culture, engagement and building a brand with authenticity can significantly reduce the number of disengaged employees within your organization. The end result of such a strategic effort can yield significant improvements on the bottom line.
3. Apathy - apathy is the foundation upon which indifference manifests. Apathy occurs when there is a lack of motivation and a person is not energized or enthused about their job. Some organizations can benefit from those basic college courses regarding management methods for motivating employees. Reinvigorating the workforce requires fresh insight, a new approach and clear leadership. The time and money invested by an organization in strategic initiatives can make the world of difference where employee apathy is concerned. Is working for your organization energizing, exciting and motivating? Or do employees drag, lag and feel overwhelmed. Implementing specific strategies toward removing apathy and creating engagement can result in low performing teams turning around and becoming high performing teams able to influence change.
Does your organization need a dynamic employee engagement program where authenticity is present and trust is assured? What costs are you experiencing related to fear based decisions, indifference and apathy? How do you turnaround your culture and energize the workforce? If you find yourself asking these questions a fresh look at your employee engagement program is exactly the next step to take for your organization.
by Timothy G. Osborn, Senior Consultant/Founder @ The Osborn Group, LLC