In Jim Haudan’s book “The Art of Engagement,” a neighbor describes his understanding of engagement based on a brief experience with their two guests at a Major League Baseball game. These guests simply wanted “hot dogs” just as the biggest game in the Cleveland Indians history was about to begin at the 1995 World Series. Jim’s neighbor realized the difference between the Indian’s fans versus the hungry, yet disinterested visitors:
“…they know about the skills that have been developed by both teams, they are fully aware that the winner is the team that takes the best of seven games… They know how to keep score and what is necessary to score… they understand that the game strategy starts in the clubhouse before the game, when the manager fills out the lineup card… But all 41,998 [fans] understand the lineup card is just the starting point-that after the first pitch, everything is in motion. And that drives a constant attempt to revise the strategy, switch players, develop and reexamine the plays that each team attempts to execute… there are two guys here that don’t have a clue… There’s a difference between just attending a game and being really involved in it… for them it’s just an interesting event that’s festive, but pretty much meaningless…”
Now imagine the Cleveland fans with the energy level of the average disengaged employee. It is hard to envision thousands of fans showing up to a game in which they have no investment. The franchise would struggle to survive; in this case the cliché “if it weren’t for the fans…” rings true.
What would it have cost the Cleveland Indians franchise if the fans weren’t engaged? Sales for tickets, jerseys, over-priced food & beverages and foam fingers would all plummet. What is the value in engaging your “fans”, your employees? What does it cost every day, week, year when employees only show up?
For starters, consider the Cost of Disengaged Workers. With some basic number crunching, an average of 2.5 disengaged hours per day for a company of 40 employees results in $528K a year in disengagement! That is the COST of doing nothing.
To reach the engagement level of fans of a long-absent World Series contender is a lofty goal, but to address employee disengagement is a catalyst in creating an environment where employees are there to root for the company to “win,” rather than just show up and eat the occasional “hotdog.”
This is a guest post by colleague, Juan Kingsbury from TTI.
What I find most interesting about disengaged employees is that they didn’t start out that way. They started their job or career enthusiastic and engaged. They “were hoping for the best” and then a poor leader got ahold of them.
In most every instance a disengaged employee or team member was made that way by a poor leader. A leader who didn’t see them as a person, a leader who used people or perhaps even a “leader” who meant well but simply didn’t know how to lead. They disengaged their employee by accident but they are disengaged all the same.
While companies endlessly look for new ways to save money they forget that nothing is more expensive than an employee who is not engaged.
Sadly, few companies ever figure this out, the ones that do are an absolute joy to work for and WITH.
Well said Steve.
Teams are mirror images of those who lead them.
Thanks for stopping by.