This month marks six years since the launch of AMC’s popular and entertaining The Walking Dead series, with season 7 set to debut in a couple of weeks.  I watched the show for a while beginning with the first season.  My incentive to watch was my nephew, who played the role of Leon Basset 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.

The big takeaway from the show’s 6 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% of U.S. workers are engaged, according to Gallup), this group negatively affects almost every aspect of your business.

  • 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 contact us if we can help.  Zombies can be hard to put down.

As Vice President of QIC, Jeff oversees daily operations as well as the company’s strategic marketing initiatives. He has 20+ years in the incentive and recognition industry with prior lengthy experience in retail marketing/advertising and consumer loyalty.

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