What Ants Can Show You About Employee Engagement & Customer Centricity


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The other day, I was reading the Internet (as I’m wont to do). So speeding into autumn, full tilt toward the winter—it happened that I found an interesting research study about ants.

Do you recall Aesop’s fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper?” Remember the industrious ant preparing for the winter, while the lazy grasshopper frolics away the days?

As it turns out, if Aesop had the research to work from, his ant would probably be just as lazy at his grasshopper.

drinking away the employee engagement issues


The Ants Go Marching None By None

In the aforementioned study, researchers watched five ant colonies over the course of two weeks. Of the ants the researchers defined as the workers, 71.9% were inactive at least half the time they were observed, and 25.1% were never seen working. Only 2.6% of the ants were always active.

So, the vast majority of those ants were pretty lazy, regardless of the time of day.

the second rule is you don't tell the queen about nap club

The researchers posit their findings may be a matter of delegation: perhaps the non-working ants are too young or old. Or maybe the researchers didn’t spend enough time observing the colonies, and therefore they missed any role changes. In future studies, they hope to capture evidence of ants switching between work and lazy modes.


Antsy for Customer-Centric Cultures

What does that say about us, dear humans? Really, it says nothing, because we’re not ants.

But the study’s findings do resemble the negative workplace stereotype. For illustrative purposes, let’s replace the word “ants” with “employees”:

  • 3% of employees are seen working all the time.
  • 25% of employees are never seen working.
  • 72% of employees are seen working less than half the time.

Ha-ha. Typical, amirite?

The sad reality is those numbers don’t feel too far off base for a disengaged workforce.

standing up for customer centricity

But there is hope! We have the ability to break down why such low numbers could exist in a workplace. For example, independent research shows that customer focus plays a role in employee engagement. Through employee satisfaction surveys, we found these real, not-ant, but-human statistics:

  • In customer-centric cultures, two-thirds of employees are engaged, and one-in-four are fully engaged.
  • In company-centric cultures, 22% of employees are engaged, and four percent are fully engaged.

And that’s just one of several factors that could affect employees. So, want to know the biggest, brightest difference between the anthill and the workplace?

We can ask each other what’s wrong, and then we can work together to fix it.


Want More?

Customer centricity starts by segmenting your customers and figuring out how to serve them. Have you made your buyers one of those segments? Check out the ebook below to learn how to make the prospect experience better, so you can keep your customer base growing.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

George Jacob
George is the Inbound Content Architect at PeopleMetrics and works to share insights and understanding about customer experiences.


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