Let’s Not Sugar Coat Your $370 Billion Loss

16 Jun

Lincoln portrayed with his ax in an early 20th century painting by F.A. Schneider.AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TYPICAL MANAGER

Dear Typical Manager,

We’d like to preface this letter by saying that there is no excuse for our bad behavior.  However, facts are facts, and it’s time somebody presented this oft-repeated story without the sugar-coating.

Last year, you collectively lost $370 billion due to “low employee engagement” because you are a bad boss.

As we’ve all read on leadership and management blogs for the past month, that $370 billion is not fictitious.  It’s the eighth year in a row Gallup has done this study, and the numbers pretty much look the same every year.  Three hundred seventy is just 2013’s number.

Here’s what low employee engagement actually means without all of the business-speak:

  • We call in sick to work because we’re sick of you and the environment you created for us.
  • When we’re sick of you, we just don’t care – which means you have to throw away what we’ve made (or shouldn’t have made in the first place thanks to your bad management).  Or, we’re so mad at you, we steal stuff; either the products you had us make or dumb little things like staplers and copper wire.
  • We look for another job after we soon discover that we’ve made the wrong choice to work for you – which forces you to invest more money in hiring and training our replacement.
  • You don’t care about our safety, or we get careless (because we couldn’t care less), and then we get hurt.  When we get hurt, you have to replace us AND pay higher insurance premiums.
  • Our customers sue you for making a crappy product that hurts people.
  • Our customers hate you for crappy service and products.  They return stuff out of spite.  They only buy from you because you’re the only game in town, or you happen to be the best of the worst.
  • We don’t care about your profit – you rarely share any of it with us.  Yet, you continually give yourselves raises when our paychecks don’t even keep up with the cost of living.
  • We could be a lot more productive, but aren’t.  Frankly, your work and your mission don’t really inspire us.  We’d rather check Facebook and get more coffee.
  • Besides, you already suck the life out of us.  When our sisters were graduating from high school, or when we didn’t get a chance to see Junior play football yet this year, did you let us off work for an hour or two?  Noooooo.  And that one time you did – you made us feel guilty as Hell.

Do you know where your own personal success comes from?  Look below you.

Who is making your goals happen?  We are – your employees.  Sure, you pay us to do that.  But the real leaders out there know this is just not enough.

Do you know how many of us would like to fire you, the typical manager?  On a blog this week, 65% of us do.  A couple weeks ago, on another blog, it was 55%.  Can’t wait for next week.  And here are some more statistics for your wingtips[1]:

  • 56% of us don’t feel valued by you.
  • 66% of us intend to look for a job within the next year.
  • 52% of us don’t feel any real purpose in our work.
  • 35% of us don’t complain so you won’t really know when we’re going to leave.
  • Tomorrow, 37% of us will honestly think about quitting.
  • 43% of us in Generation X perpetually think about quitting – because you’ve repeatedly damaged us for the last 20-30 years (start thinking about saving poor Gen Y now!).

If you think this is somebody else’s problem, then do this math:  The taxes lost on $370 billion a year, plus the billions paid out in unemployment and other welfare subsidies = a continually disabled economy.  National debts continue to grow, stock markets and their investors suffer, and the average person’s lifestyle plummets.  This is, of course, not to mention that other countries that depend on foreign trade suffer, too.

In case you haven’t figured it out, you, the typical manager, is to blame; from the top to the bottom. 

We hope you choke on each and every single dollar bill (figuratively, of course).

And what are the real leaders doing?  They’re doing what the founders of your company did when it first started.  They’re stealing your customers and hiring the best employees.  They were once your employees.  They’re finding success.

Be better.


Your former and currently disengaged employees

For more on the $370 billion employee engagement debacle, see The Costs Of Ignoring Employee Engagement by Julie Moreland at FastCompany.Com.


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