Years of research have demonstrated a clear correlation between employee engagement and performance. One study by Gallup showed that highly engaged employees are 22% more productive than their counterparts in the workplace.
Organizations with high engagement experience lower absenteeism and turnover. They experience fewer safety or quality incidents. What’s more they produce higher Net Promoter Scores – the favored measure of customer advocacy and commitment to a company.
Quite simply, employee engagement drives profitable growth.
“Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant,” explains Jim Harter, a chief scientist with Gallup Research. “They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.”
But here’s the thing. Personal stress can undermine employee engagement. When a worker’s morale is low or when stress is a constant issue, it’s hard to stay engaged and motivated. And one of the leading sources of personal stress is financial stress.
In a report by the American Psychological Association, money concerns (expressed by 64% of adults) outranked all other sources of stress including work (60%), family responsibilities (47%), and health concerns (46%). Indeed, three-quarters of adults report feeling financial stress some of the time.
“Money is a very important component of establishing a secure life,” said Norman Anderson, CEO and executive vice president of the American Psychological Association. “When people are financially challenged, it makes sense that their stress level would go up.”
Interestingly, psychologists have long maintained that uncertainty leads to anxiety and distress. It distracts from the task at hand. Uncertainty, in other words, is a major factor in the financial stress equation, and thus, a key reason for low employee engagement.
We all want more certainty and this is certainly true when it comes to our financial health.
Unfortunately, many workers today are one unexpected bill away from severe personal turmoil. They live with a cloud of financial uncertainty all the time. Should an unforeseen financial event occur, their options can be deeply unpleasant. They may have to borrow from a relative or take out a payday loan. Some might even lose the roof over their heads.
Imagine having to live with this level of financial uncertainty all the time. How in the world could you perform at your best? You couldn’t. And that’s why the status quo – a financially stressed, disengaged and distracted workforce — is a problem that needs fixing.
To build a more engaged and productive workforce, a growing number of employers are taking on this issue of financial uncertainty and insecurity. Of course, options may be limited. When margins are thin and competition is intense, you can’t simply raise wages and call it a day.
You need creative options that can produce clear outcomes.
One option you should consider revolves around access to wages that your workers have already earned. It’s something you, as an employer, can do without taking on additional costs or even affecting cash flow. Having access to funds they have earned enables your employees to overcome the financial uncertainty that now weighs on them and weakens their performance. It raises their morale while boosting your bottom line.
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