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Before Taking the Job, How to Tell if Employees are Engaged…

Don't find yourself in a job you're not interested in...
Greg Harris is the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day.
Greg Harris is the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day.

via Giphy

Employee engagement in the financial industry is on a downward trend. This makes it even more crucial for professionals in this industry to find companies and leaders who are striving to give their employees the tools they need to reach success through engagement.

Employee Engagement in the Financial Services Industry, a recent report by my company, Quantum Workplace, showed the finance industry ranked only 10th in employee engagement among 18 industries surveyed. What’s more troubling is that the finance sector has seen a 3.4 point rise in employees who aren’t engaged in their jobs over the last three years — even among our Best Places to Work.

Even though employee engagement is tough to come by among financial institutions, many leaders are aware of the issue and are creating productive, motivated, and engaged employees. When considering making a leap toward a new career, it’s important to know if leaders are committed to employee engagement. Here’s what to look for in your next interview:

Positive and Supportive Work Culture

As a financial employee — or hopeful — you’re very aware of the many changes constantly circling around the industry. There are times when you work extra long hours because the office is short-staffed or when your entire process needs to change due to tighter industry regulations. You’ve seen it all and understand having a strong support system can make or break your will to stay at an organization. That’s where employee engagement comes in.

During an interview is the perfect time to get a feel for a leader’s supportive — or not-so-supportive — nature. Ask specific questions about an open door policy to see if employees are free to come in and discuss any issues or concerns at any moment.

Aside from allowing employees to immediately express concerns, leaders who are focused on a supportive culture should also host frequent one-on-one meetings to review goals and expectations. This is the perfect time to discuss how leaders address goals, how often they meet to go over them, and how they approach someone who isn’t living up to certain expectations.

Leaders aren’t the only ones in charge of a positive and supportive work culture. Coworker relationships are just as important. See if there’s a mentor program set up to help new employees during the on-boarding process, or if there’s an ongoing peer-to-peer recognition program to boost teamwork and office morale.

Opportunities for Growth

Growing in the financial industry doesn’t just mean being promoted. Even though that’s a good goal to have in mind, growing also means keeping up with an advancing field. For finance employees, that’s a challenge. In fact, the2016 Accenture Technology Vision for Banking report found 85% of bankers surveyed expect to see the pace of technology increase rapidly or at an unprecedented rate.

It’s a company leader’s job to make sure you are equipped with the proper tools to keep up and grow within your position. However, if a manager doesn’t fully understand what technology you’re struggling with, they’ll have no opportunity to help.

Find out how the interviewer feels about changing technology in the financial industry. If they’re in denial about how rapidly it’s progressing — run for the door. Along with providing new technology, it’s crucial to find out if learning opportunities are presented as well. What courses or training opportunities does the company offer to keep employees up-to-date? Is there a monthly allotment for employees to pay for courses on their own time?

Leaders who take the time to listen to their employees and trust their opinions in enhancing the workplace are securing a strong future for their team.

Employees Are the Most Valued Resource

Those of you who already hold a position in the financial industry won’t be surprised at our report’s finding: finance employees place leaders valuing their employees as the third leading driver in employee engagement. And, if you’re currently seeking new employment, it’s no shocker that the banking and finance industries have a 19.1% turnover rate, according to the 28,000 organizations surveyed in Compensation Force’s 2015 Turnover Rates By Industry report.

Companies that don’t place their employees as their most important resource end up with a volatile working environment. Their employees are hostile, disengaged, or just merely contributing. Not only is that harmful to the company, it depletes the passion and drive of employees.

During your next interview, do some digging to find out if leaders value their staff. Inquire if they have regular surveys or frequent meetings to discuss employee feedback. If they do, how do leaders take that feedback and ensure it’s implemented back into everyone’s workday?

An interview can often feel like a one-sided discussion, where managers are trying to decide if you fit within their company. But truly successful job seekers understand it’s just as much their opportunity to see if this is a place where they’ll be given the support and tools to reach the height of success.

What do you look for during an interview to know if a company is right for you? Let us know!

Greg Harris is the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day. You can connect with Greg and the Quantum Workplace team on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon should be turning the volume up. Their current quiet murmur is just not enough.