What is the true cost of unmotivated employees?

This author believes that companies overspend on inspiring and training their top talent, ignoring the tremendous incidental costs of the listless workers who collect paychecks.

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Our brains don’t always do their best weighing the risks we face. One of my favorites is the concern some have about radiation from airport security scanners, despite that radiation being equal to the radiation we get from just 12 seconds of flying.

Often bigger risks are less visible than smaller risks, an “iceberg” effect. It can be the same way for organizations and the barriers they face to realizing the potential of their workers.

When we think of those barriers, first thoughts often go to voluntary turnover of top talent and development of these talented workers as a must-solve. Far less often do we consider the effect on the other end of the spectrum—uninterested, unmotivated employees who show up to work.

Compensation is sufficient to keep these employees coming through the door, but is otherwise ineffective. The effect of these direct costs and their effect on other employees’ performance and motivation could cost the organization more than not motivating its top people.

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