What is Apathy Costing You?

“I don’t care.”

Chances are that if you listen to most of your employees or leaders, you will hear the apathy.  You might even find that you don’t care.

I don't care scaled

How can I say that?

Gallup’s 2017 study revealed that 18% of employees worldwide and 16% of American workers are actively disengaged. Another 67% are “not engaged.” That disengagement costs American companies approximately $560 to 650 billion annually.

Look closer and we find that each disengaged employee costs you 34% of their salary because of lost productivity, missed shifts, chronic tardiness, and disrupting others by spreading negativity throughout the company. 

In the end, disengaged employees cost companies the opportunity to disrupt their industry because they struggle to create disruptive leaders. No wonder they can’t break through. I work with aspiring and emerging leaders to do what no one thought possible.  One of the biggest obstacles that I find preventing that disruption is the “I don’t care” attitude on the part of both leaders and team members. Why don’t they care?

Gallup found three critical ways in which employees are disengaged.

  • They are indifferent to your organization.
  • They give you their time, but not their best effort nor their best ideas.
  • They may come to work wanting to make a difference — but nobody has ever asked them to use their strengths to make the organization better.

The sad part is that information is not new information. We heard that last year. I’m wondering how many supervisors, managers, and executives have changed anything since they read the news? Did you?

Often we brush off these numbers because we don’t think it concerns us. In other words, we don’t care because we don’t think it affects us. But it does.

Whenever we don’t care, they won’t either.

People live their lives based on the law of reciprocation. Whenever someone does something nice to them, they respond nicely. However, whenever someone is uncaring, they don’t care either.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

It is insane for leaders, supervisors, and managers to expect employees to care about the company or be willing to share their best ideas just because they receive a paycheck. Sure it would be nice but let’s face it, most don’t live in the world. Especially the millennials. They won’t stay at a job that doesn’t meet their needs but they won’t volunteer that information. You need to ask.

In researching the latest trends in employee trauma for our upcoming revision of, “The ROI of Compassion” we encountered a number of horrifying stories of uncaring leaders. When their lives were negatively disrupted and they needed all the help they could use to get back on track and be productive, many leaders didn’t know what to do or say, so they did nothing. Worse than that, they only cared about when the employee would be “over it.”

“Compassion is coming alongside another to alleviate their pain.”

Lisa and Loren Murfield in The ROI of Compassion

We define compassion as “coming alongside others to alleviate their pain.” While it is probably not to the level of trauma, many of our employees find coming to work painful. Unfortunately, their leaders, supervisors or managers don’t care. So what are they going to do? They will do enough to keep their job and likely look for another one.

Compassion is the best business strategy and practice because it unleashes the ultimate performance, production, and profits.  Compassion, working with them to alleviate the pain of their unmet needs, is the first step to creating a disruptive team.

The ROI of Compassion

How much is the practice of not caring costing your company? 

When companies care enough to engage their workers (and begin seeing them as team members), they see incredible results.

According to Gallup, improving employee engagement strongly impacts the overall well-being of your business. Employee engagement was found to have the following effects:

  • 17% higher productivity
  • 21% higher profitability
  • 10% higher customer satisfaction
  • 41% lower absenteeism
  • 24% less turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
  • 59% less turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
  • 70% fewer safety incidents
  • 40% fewer defects and quality issues

What is apathy costing you?



Loren Murfield, Ph.D.

Start learning how you can engage employees during their most traumatic moments, “The ROI of COMPASSION“, Leading with the Power of Compassion, and Making More Money in Tough Times


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