Disengaged Employees: They're Costing Your Business

Deanna Morris

Employee engagement is no longer just about management/staff one-on-ones. The workplace has changed radically, with expectations by employers for round-the-clock response and pressure for increased productivity – and expectations by employees for attentiveness to their needs. Job offers for in-demand talent, after all, can just show up in their in-boxes.

A survey conducted by Bersin by Deloitte reveals that the issue of disengaged employees has now made it to the list of top concerns among business executives.

Here are a few points for CFOs to consider. According to the survey:

  • Research shows that companies that emphasize employee enrichment make more money.
  • A culture that emphasizes management by coaching correlates closely with business performance, employee engagement, and retention. Top-performing organizations spend 1.5–3 times more on management development than their lesser peers.
  • Companies with a clearly communicated mission and sense of purpose have 40% higher levels of retention and 30% higher levels of innovation. They invest in people regardless of the economic climate.

With the highly competitive job market, top candidates now have more bargaining power. Job seekers are flocking to employers that can offer not only highly competitive salaries, but an engaging work environment as well. In fact, a Deloitte survey in 2014 found that more than 70% of millennials want the chance to be more creative. The same survey also pinpointed that more than two-thirds of millennials expect their employers to give them more opportunities for advancement. Otherwise, they won’t hesitate to look for greener pastures. And a high turnover rate can be very costly.

How to make work “irresistible”

So how can your company become a desirable place to work? According to the research by Bersin by Deloitte, it’s all about addressing three critical issues:


Rethinking engagement

Research shows that companies should reconsider the whole concept of employee engagement, giving managers specific practices and holding leaders accountable. For example, they can change the dynamics of team meetings where leaders are usually the ones doing all the talking. Instead of the usual structure, have managers reduce their own air time and encourage staff members to speak up. Give other people the chance to lead meetings. Consider changing the leader-follower culture. Allow employees to disagree and readily share their ideas.

Using real-time tools to capture employee feedback

The survey reveals that among advanced users of engagement surveys, there is not much confidence in executives’ ability to make improvements – and confidence is lower within the broader population. Some companies are deploying analytics as predictors of retention, correlating factors such as salary, benefits, manager, and demographics. These can be augmented with enterprise tools and methods that measure employee feedback in real time. Managers can adjust their practices and work environment at the local level.

Elevating employee engagement to a core business strategy

Business leaders should elevate employee engagement to a core strategy. Why? Because a culture of disengagement can have broad implications.

Glassdoor, a website that allows employees to review their past and present employers, revealed that only 54% of their users recommend their company as a good place to work. If your company is among that other 46%, these reviews will most likely affect the perception of your company in the job market, leading to difficulty in acquiring top talent.

Disengaged employees are most likely dissatisfied with their work and believe that they can go elsewhere. A survey by DICE, a talent consulting company, states that in the technology industry, 65% of workers believe that they could find better opportunities if they took the time to look.

From the finance perspective, keeping employee engagement at healthy levels means building a working environment that is conducive to professional growth. And with almost 80% of companies acknowledging that their employees are overwhelmed with the data and activity at work, it becomes critical to provide your team with the tools they need to perform their tasks efficiently. CFOs should help their teams expand their horizons past data collection to becoming trusted advisors to the business – a far more satisfying role.

To learn more about how finance executives can empower themselves with the right tools and play a vital role in business innovation and value chain, review the finance content hub, which offers additional research and valuable insights.

Deanna Morris

About Deanna Morris

Deanna Morris previously was the VP of Global Marketing Programs at SAP, driving a team of high-caliber marketing executives to deliver impactful and creative brand-to-cash marketing programs – some targeting line of business executives and others which are market-making thought leadership campaigns. She has over 15 years of software marketing experience, and is highly knowledgeable in topics related to Finance.