What’s keeping finance employees down in the dumps: Part 1

What’s keeping finance employees down in the dumps: Part 1

What’s keeping finance employees down in the dumps: Part 1

These are the employees that manage your money, invest your wealth, and negotiate your home and life insurance. But are they happy? Turns out, not so much. In our Best Industry Ranking Report, a first-of-its kind analysis that reviewed over 30,000 employee responses across 500+ global companies, we found that Finance & Insurance workers ranked fairly low on the happiness scale, coming in the bottom half of all industries analyzed.

In an industry known for relatively strong, stable salaries, we anticipated Finance & Insurance workers to show far higher happiness levels. And with this sector back on track and performing better than ever after the Great Recession, we thought they’d be a shoo-in for one of the happier industries around. We were wrong. In fact, only 22% of employees in this sector indicated that they were truly happy at work.

This unexpected phenomenon intrigued us, and we dove right in to learn more. We explored responses from over 3,000 employees at nearly 60 organizations to understand exactly what factors were at play. Thanks to TINYpulse’s broad client representation – everything from wealth management and commercial banking to investment banking and personal insurance - we were able to capture a truly representative piece of this key sector.

Our findings showed some clear trends impacting this industry:

1. Transparency is not the culprit: Research on employee happiness shows a strong relationship between employee satisfaction and organizational transparency. Transparency in the finance industry is not in short supply.

2. Employee appreciation and recognition are low: A large driver of workplace satisfaction is feeling valued for a job well done. Our data show that within the Finance & Insurance sector, there is a lot of room to improve the amount of recognition and appreciation being doled out.

3. There are low levels of satisfaction with managers: Employees are reporting discontent with poor communication, limited mentorship, and minimal time given to them by managers, all leading to general unhappiness.

4. There are low levels of satisfaction with colleagues: When employees are dissatisfied with their colleagues, they will be dissatisfied with their workplace as a whole. Amongst Finance & Insurance employees, this is clearly an issue.

Given the increasingly competitive landscape that new and established finance and insurance organizations find themselves in, these findings are extremely concerning. How can you compete when your employees are disengaged, managers are lackluster, colleagues are subpar, and motivation is at an all-time low due to underappreciation? You can’t.

But all is not lost. Leaders that accept these findings have a chance to right the ship. Farsighted managers that measure their culture, put dedicated efforts towards recruiting and promoting properly, and leverage employee recognition tools stand a chance to make their organizations thrive. And that means a chance to hire the best, retain the best, and outshine the rest.

If transparency isn’t the cause of this dissatisfaction, what is? It turns out recognition and appreciation, or rather the lack thereof, is playing a major role.

Why employee recognition and appreciation is at an all-time low
When asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how well they were recognized for doing a great job, a paltry 21% answered a “9” or “10”, meaning very few feel truly well recognized on the job.

Is it any surprise, then, that when we we asked employees how valued they felt at work, only 20% said they were strongly valued?

Recognition has major implications for organizational productivity and engagement. Just consider these factors:

• Recognition improves KPIs: According to Human Resource experts Bersin & Associates, engagement, productivity, and customer service are 14% better in organizations where recognition occurs.

• Recognition impacts motivation: Socialcast found that 69% of employees said they’d work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.

• Recognition keeps turnover low: Globoforce found that 55% of employees not being formally recognized at work would consider leaving their workplace for an employer with a formal recognition program.

And when you consider the rise of millennials in the workplace - 50% of the workforce by 2020 - and how much they crave regular appreciation, you’ll be that much more sold on rolling it into your work environment:

• Millennials expect frequent recognition: PwC found that 41% of millennials expect recognition at least monthly vs. 30% of non-millennial employees.

• Millennials want recognition tools: Our own research with millennials pointed out that 54% of millennials wish they had a way to recognize peers for a job well done.

Part 2 of this story will discuss the top three reasons driving dissatisfaction with direct supervisors.

This article originally appeared in TINYpulse. Check out the complete report to learn more about what’s really keeping employee engagement down in this sector.