June may be the peak of wedding season, but we’re focusing on “engagement” of another kind – as in how gung-ho employees are about their jobs.
And the news isn’t great. In fact, it’s downright distressing.
During 2012, not even a third (30%) of employees said they were actively engaged in their jobs, according to a recent Gallup poll.
That’s nothing to celebrate, for sure, but somehow it’s a whole lot better than the numbers back in 2009, which were a whopping 7.2% lower.
Here’s why that’s a problem no company can afford not to address: Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.
The folks you really don’t want on staff
It’s not that 7 in 10 people are simply less-than-enthused about being at work every day. In fact, there’s a good chance you may have some folks that are actually doing damage to your engaged or borderline staffers.
While 52% of employees would be classified as “not engaged” meaning they are going through the motions, you really need to keep an eye on the other 18%.
Gallup classifies those people as “actively disengaged.” And they could spell trouble. Not only are these folks not productive, but they may actually be working against your company, poisoning co-workers with their toxic attitudes. And these are not the people you want on your finance team.
More than likely those folks are too far gone and if you do have one in Finance, it’s in your best interest to end that working relationship.
Where you can focus your attention and efforts on is that middle group of “not engaged” staffers. There’s plenty of potential for a turnaround there and the productivity boost that comes along with it.
But how can you re-energize them? One of your company’s best tools is another group ID’d by Gallup.
One key group moving in right direction
The one bright spot in this otherwise glum report: Your finance supervisors are likely in a considerably better place.
Engagement among managers and executives has jumped 38% since the end of the recession.
Why that’s so critical: The most common cause of voluntary turnover among employees is their direct supervisor. So if the people leading your finance teams are feeling more energized about their jobs, there’s hope that enthusiasm will be contagious and spread to the ranks.
But you can be more active than that to foster greater engagement. Gallup advises companies embrace the following strategies with their managers to maximize engagement:
- Have them define what engagement looks like. “Engagement” can sound like one of those vague HR-y terms that can be tough for people to truly understand. You want each of your finance supervisors to be able to concretely spell out what an “engaged” finance staffer looks like. Is it an A/P staffer that goes the extra mile to follow up with that vendor on the status of a credit or the payroll person who stops by a new hire’s desk to ask if she had any questions about her first paystub without being asked? Once they have clear definitions, they need to be communicated to all staffers so they understand your expectations and have a clear picture of just what you hope to see.
- Hold supervisors accountable. Considering how important the issue is and the amount of money being lost due to a lack of engagement, employee engagement should be part of supervisors’ compensation criteria. Once you determine a tangible way to measure how tuned in staffers are, consider tying some incentive based pay to supervisors for how successfully they foster that in their own departments.
Info: For more on the Gallup Employee Engagement Index, click.