Safety first! In recognition of Halloween Safety Month, we challenge you to beware of zombies in the workforce. Zombies in the workforce dread going to work, count the hours and minutes, struggle to see how their work contributes to a higher purpose, and find no joy, peace, or fulfillment in what they do. You know you are a zombie in the workforce if you are uninspired and going through the motions.
Gallup offers a less colorful, though useful, discussion of zombies in the workforce when they reference disengaged workers in their annual State of the Global Workplace report. They report that only 23% of workers are engaged at work. The remaining 77% are not engaged or are actively disengaged. They are quiet quitting and loud quitting. The quiet quitters watch the clock, do the minimum, and feel burnt out and disconnected. The loud quitters cause direct harm, undercutting organizational goals. Gallup estimates that low engagement costs the global economy $8.8 trillion.
CEEK contends that the root cause of zombies in the workforce is not a virus or bacteria, but rather hypocrisy. We define hypocrisy as a state where professed values differ from demonstrated behaviors. It doesn’t need to be intentional or malicious. The hypocrisy may exist because the organization fails to articulate a shared set of values or define the standards by which it applies those values. Do you profess to value collaboration, yet work behind a closed door? Do you value respect, yet show up late to every meeting? You might have hypocrisy…and zombies.
How to Prevent Workforce Zombiism
What can organizations do to minimize the degree of hypocrisy and thus prevent disengagement?
- Go beyond values. Values on a wall are not enough. Define the standards by which your organization demonstrates and measures its values. Bring clarity to the behaviors that reinforce your values. Empower employees with the language necessary to hold themselves and others accountable.
- Define operating norms. Operating norms, or rituals, are a powerful, tangible way to reinforce your organization’s values and behaviors. Make them a clear application of one or more values or behaviors.
How to Relieve Workforce Zombiism
What about the zombies that are already here? Here at CEEK, we encourage you to advance engagement by drawing out passion first from yourself, then from others.
- Craft your job to draw out your passion.
- Consider how you do what you do as much as what you do.
- Teach and encourage others to do the same.
Do you know a zombie in the workforce? Are you a zombie in the workforce? Embrace Halloween Safety Month and our challenge to beware of zombies in the workforce. Visit our website to learn more about how CEEK can help your team reduce hypocrisy, increase engagement, and create your organization’s Intentional Culture. We can help you CEEK a Better WayÒ.