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Otherwise Engaged

Get blase employees motivated about their jobs, and they'll really take care of business.

This story appears in the March 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A woman is standing at a retail counter waiting for help. When an employee finally saunters over to ring up her purchase, he doesn't smile or say "thank you." The woman leaves with a feeling of discontent, wondering if she ever wants to shop there again.

An "I don't care" attitude is ravaging businesses from the assembly line to the retail floor. Research and consulting firm the Gallup Organization estimates 70 percent of employees are "disengaged," meaning they're no longer committed to the company. Even worse, the longer employees stay, the more disengaged they become.

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