As year-end ramps up, you’ll need your Finance folks to be at the top of their game. But beware: A good number of them may be secretly disengaged and disconnected, doing the bare minimum and costing your company thousands – even millions – in lost productivity.
In fact, a third of employees at companies large and small are the “working dead” – unhappy, unmotivated and barely productive – according to a new study from Perceptyx, a firm that specializes in people analytics.
Even worse: These employees have no plans to leave. So, if things don’t improve, they’ll be negatively impacting your company’s bottom line for a long time.
Danger of disconnected employees
The study looked at how well companies were meeting employees’ basic needs in three key categories:
- People management
- Employee development, and
- Workplace climate.
Then, depending on how workers answered, Perceptyx divided them into four additional categories. The Neglected, 13% of respondents, only had one of these needs met at work. These employees were extremely burned out and upset – and the most likely to leave their companies.
At the other end of the spectrum are the Energized, 9% of those surveyed. Their employers meet their basic needs in all three categories, and they’re champions of their companies. Energized employees plan to spend their whole career at their companies. They also eagerly refer new hires.
Most employees, 44%, fall into the Contented category. Their basic needs are typically met, and they think they’ve been adequately provided opportunities to develop their skills and grow in their positions. While they have no immediate plans to leave the company, they could be convinced to resign for the right opportunity.
The employees you’ll have to worry about are your working dead or those in the Disconnected category: 34% of employees surveyed. These workers don’t have their basic needs met consistently, and they don’t feel like their employers are investing in their development. Plus, their workplace climate is having a negative impact on their general well-being.
As a result, they’re extremely disinterested, and they perform at minimum capacity just to collect their paychecks.
3 key signs of disinterest
Although Disconnected employees aren’t always verbal about their dissatisfaction, they’ll show it by their actions in three distinct ways:
- They may be more negative. Disconnected employees are much less likely to recommend the company to others or to feel pride in their employer. They’re also more likely to see little opportunity for themselves to advance. And that’ll likely be evident in the work they produce or their attitude about their current position.
- They aren’t willing to go the extra mile. Only a quarter of Disconnected employees would put forth any extra effort at their jobs to meet deadlines or production goals – and 23% said they wouldn’t want to do anything extra at all. This could be detrimental for your year-end goals in Finance, as extra effort may be required to get everything done.
- They treat their jobs with indifference. Often, Disconnected employees will simply go through the motions on a day-to-day basis. They’re significantly more likely to say they don’t understand the expectations of their role or department – and significantly less likely to report any safety issues they may encounter in the office.
Strategies for improvement
So what should you do to improve the satisfaction of all your people, especially the secretly Disconnected (or any Contented people who’ll jump ship for the next best thing)? The best leaders will:
- Assess the situation. Before making a plan, collect data about how your workforce is feeling. You can do this through an employee satisfaction survey. If you aren’t surveying your people to get a sense of how they’re feeling, you should start ASAP. Even if your company conducts a survey regularly, huddle with HR to make sure it specifically has questions about whether your company is meeting workers’ basic needs when it comes to management, employee development and workplace climate.
- Analyze the results. Once you have info from your employees about how they’re feeling, take a close look at what they’re saying. If you notice certain trends from Finance, you may have to follow up with additional surveys, meetings or discussions. That way, you can pinpoint their exact problems and brainstorm to find solutions.
- Act on your findings. Look for ways to implement the solutions that would work best for everyone in Finance. Whether it’s additional opportunities for employee development (e.g., conferences, webinar training), more one-on-one discussions about the company with your people or additional social activities to improve engagement, addressing these issues can pay off quickly. It’s also important to continue following up with employees to see if the changes are working to keep them happy and productive.