Over half of Singapore firms have 'zombies' as employees

by Barnaby Smith03 Aug 2016
Over half of employees at Singapore companies are working as “zombies” in their role, according to research from HR consultancy firm Robert Half.

A stark 57 percent of Singapore businesses employ workers suffering from an “inner resignation”, that is, they are “present physically but mentally absent from their job”, or going through the motions physically without being properly engaged with their duties, co-workers or expectations.

Such employees are more likely to be found at companies that are medium-sized or large, with smaller firms apparently less susceptible to a lack of engagement on the part of employees. Just 32 percent of small businesses admitted to mentally absent employees, while 68 percent of large or medium-sized firms reported to being afflicted by this trend, according to Robert Half.

David Jones, senior managing director of Robert Half Asia Pacific, said, “Inner resignation is often overlooked by employers, especially in workplaces where employees are left alone to get on with their job. Employers need to be more vigilant in looking for signs that an employee is mentally disengaged, such as a lack of motivation for bonuses or advancement or a drop in productivity."

The research surveyed 100 chief financial officers and finance directors in Singapore. An impressive 97 percent of financial leaders say they take measures to counter against mentally absent employees.

Jones added, “To reduce the risk of inner resignation, employers need to keep the lines of communication open with their staff so that the employees feel confident they can raise their concerns without fear of reprisals. If workplace concerns are responded to early, then there is less chance of employees becoming disengaged from their work."

Equally, however, Jones points out that there is a responsibility on the employee to guard against this ‘zoning out’ in the workplace.

"If an employee finds they have accepted inner resignation, then they should identify the cause of their dissatisfaction and raise the matter with their employer during their performance review. If the issue cannot be resolved then they are better off seeking a new job than lingering in a role they are unhappy with."
 

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