Is Employee Apathy a Danger to My Business?
By: K'Lee Banks
You have probably seen and heard them: employees in just about any store or business you go to who seem bothered by you, the customer, as you wait for service. They don’t seem to care that it’s supposed to be their job to provide good customer service—heck, ANY customer service, for that matter.
Then there are those employees who seem to constantly be negative about everything and everyone, and their negativity eventually brings down the morale of many other employees. They don’t seem happy about having a job, but they don’t leave, either.
So what is the problem?
What has happened to genuinely taking pride in one’s company or business, and caring about how one performs his or her job, as well as treating customers or clients well, who—after all—are rather essential to keeping a company running?
Apathy appears to be the culprit, and if any employees in YOUR company are apathetic, it could spell trouble and impending danger for the success of your business.
Warning Signs of Apathy
However you define apathy—boredom, lethargy, or simply indifference—if the workers in your company have it, you should take immediate action to address and correct it, as it is known to be contagious.
Even good, dedicated workers can sometimes become affected by apathy, once they realize they appear to be doing the majority of the work while their co-workers avoid it as often as possible. Some of the warning signs of apathy among your workers might include the following:
- Standing or sitting around talking to one another, while ignoring assigned tasks, or worse, ignoring waiting customers.
- Showing up late, frequently calling in “sick” or simply not showing up at all.
- Taking extended breaks or more frequent “smoke” breaks.
- Performing mandatory tasks in an obvious disinterested manner, sometimes accompanied by sighing, complaining, or expletives.
- Doing the bare minimum to get the job done.
- Remaining detached from forming working relationships with co-workers.
- Engaging in non-work activities, such as surfing the Web, checking emails or engaging in social media activities, texting, making or taking personal phone calls, or simply daydreaming instead of being productive.
Strategies to Address and Correct Apathy
So once you’ve diagnosed the problem, what’s your next move?
Aside from firing all those workers who seem to have a perpetual case of apathy, you might try some of these strategies to address and correct apathy in your workers, as well as in the conditions contributing to apathy:
- Demonstrate genuine interest in your workers by asking for feedback about the job, the tasks it involves, and whether or not your workers feel confident in their abilities to perform their jobs well.
- Implement feedback by making changes whenever feasible.
- Keep employees interested and engaged in their work; make changes as necessary, whenever possible, so the right employee fills a role that makes the best use of his or her skills.
- Provide periodic workplace events or activities that offer co-workers a chance to mingle with one another on a casual basis.
- Monitor workplace conditions for optimal comfort and productivity.
- Reward workers in meaningful ways for work done well.
- Provide training opportunities for employees to develop or expand their skill sets, with opportunities for advancement.
Build Team Spirit
Build team spirit among your workers. Make them feel they play a valuable role in the success of the business. Be approachable and listen to any reasonable suggestions your workers may have about how to make the business better, or even how to be a better boss.
Above all, make sure YOU don’t exhibit any apathy toward the business or your workers, but rather be a model for commitment, responsibility, and enthusiasm.
About the Author: As a prolific freelance writer since 2008, K'Lee Banks has written about numerous business topics, including small business ownership using a wireless credit card machine, and employee engagement.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”