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Disengaged Employees? This May Be The Reason

BrightPlan Team

Employee engagement is the foundation of a high-performing team. Engaged employees are critical to employee retention, improved quality of work, and organizational success. Disengaged employees, on the other hand, tend to have poorer performance and can have a negative impact on business success. The first step to improving employee engagement and productivity is understanding the root cause of their detachment. 


Signs of Disengaged Employees

Here are some of the telltale signs of disengaged employees: 

  • Reduced quality of work and lower productivity
  • Withdrawal from co-workers
  • Increase in absenteeism
  • Lack of desire for new challenges or responsibility

Lack of employee engagement can be caused by several factors, including a lack of recognition, career growth, or challenge. Another, often overlooked, contributing factor to low engagement is employee well-being.


Financial Stress: Top Reason For Low Engagement

According to PwC, finances are the biggest source of stress for employees. Our 2022 Wellness Barometer Survey found 72% of employees are stressed about their finances, costing U.S. employers more than $4 billion per week in lost productivity and engagement.*


Impact on Employers and Employees

1. Poor Health

A constant state of stress and anxiety can have serious implications on physical health and overall well-being. This may translate into more sick days and increased healthcare premiums for employers and employees. In fact, our survey found that 77% of employees with worsening financial health say it negatively affects their mental health and 52% say it negatively impacts their physical health.

2. Increased Absenteeism

When employees are stressed, they’re more likely to call in sick or experience health problems that require them to miss work time. When employees are absent, their responsibilities either go undone or other employees are left to shoulder the workload, potentially resulting in even more widespread stress.

3. Decreased Productivity

When financially stressed employees are physically present at work, they may not be performing to their full capacity. This may lead to a heightened level of distraction, missed deadlines, and increased mistakes. In fact, our survey shows that financially stressed employees lose, on average, 11.4 hours of productivity each week.

4. Poor Working Relationships

Happy and healthy employees are more likely to be engaged and perform better than employees who are dealing with personal stressors while at work. Depression, irritability, and anxiety may accompany financial stress and ultimately impact employees’ working relationships and attitudes about their job. 


How Can Employers Help

An overwhelming majority—nearly 90%—of employees look to their employers for financial support, many of which would like guidance on financial education, tools for investing, and access to a financial professional.

HR leaders can target this emerging need by supplementing their total rewards portfolio with financial wellness benefits. Providing your employees with a comprehensive financial wellness program can help fast-track their financial literacy, guide them to financial stability, and demonstrate that you care about their overall well-being. Further, investing in benefits that support holistic well-being shows a culture of care and appreciation. Empowering employees to make healthy choices physically, mentally, and financially leads to happier and more engaged employees. 


*Disclosure: Assumes there are 97,983,000 knowledge workers in the U.S. with an hourly wage of $36.68.
Source: Federal Reserve Economic Dataset. For more information, see the full report.