Employee Recognition and the Zombie Apocalypse

The working dead—employees with low motivation—can be devastating to your company’s performance and long-term potential.

It’s hard to believe that AMC’s popular and entertaining The Walking Dead series is well into its ninth season. I watched the show for a while beginning with the first season, as my nephew played the role of Leon Basett in the first few episodes. Leon was an employee of the King’s County Sheriff’s Department—a deputy who survived the initial roadblock scene but not the zombie outbreak. He was dispatched by Rick in dramatic fashion and left pathetically hanging against a chain link fence.

The big takeaway from the show’s nine seasons is that zombie eradication is a long-term project, with a lot of chaos and uncertainty. And while the walking dead have been around a long time, the working dead have been with us even longer. Cited by Rob Miklas in a previous post, this infographic entitled "The Working Dead: The High Cost of Low Engagement" discusses the impact of low engagement in the workplace.

The bad news? The working dead can be devastating to your company’s performance and long-term potential. Consisting of disengaged employees (only 34 percent of U.S. workers are engaged, according to Gallup), this group negatively affects almost every aspect of your business as they:

  • Provide poor customer service
  • Lower profits
  • Take more sick days
  • Increase turnover rates
  • Infect the staff around them
  • Cost U.S. businesses $550 billion per year

What’s the good news? Unlike the walking dead, the working dead can be cured. And unlike the “cure” for the walking dead, the antidote for the working dead is painless and in most cases, long-lasting. It begins with a comprehensive approach to employee recognition, as pointed out in this Gallup article entitled "Employee Recognition: Low Cost, High Impact."

The challenge is to develop strategies to attract and retain top performers, while simultaneously increasing growth and employee productivity. The Gallup article points out that employee recognition is perhaps being overlooked, but should be a part of these strategies. According to Gallup's analysis, “only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days. At any given company, it's not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored. Further, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they'll quit in the next year.”

Need a strategy to contain a working dead epidemic? Examine your existing employee recognition initiative and enlist the help an outside consulting agency if you could use assistance in process. Zombies are hard to put down.

Quality Incentive Company (QIC) is an AD HR Service Provider specialized in employee engagement and recognition programs. To learn more about what they can offer, reach out to Bob Aylward at (610) 435-7385 or [email protected].

This story originally appeared on the AD blog.

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