Almost one quarter of the typical workforce is not engaged in their work according to Tony Robbins, one of American’s most iconic business gurus and motivational speakers who was interviewed last year by Fortune magazine.

Personnel “sitting at idle speed” every day, is slowing down your enterprise’s success, market share, and potentially infecting the morale of other employees. From an “insider-threat” standpoint, these unengaged employees represent the core of a higher-risk population.

While the top reasons that disgruntled employees step over the line from mere disaffection and occasional anger to a life-changing decision to steal proprietary company data, customer lists, and other valuable intellectual property include financial gain, ego, extreme anger/extreme disgruntlement over a long period of time, or divided loyalty, they all start as unengaged, mildly disgruntled employees. The fact is, the vast majority of employees who commit cyber-crime usually display cues, or indicators, that an alert, conscientious and empowered co-worker or manager can observe.
Talon Security’s experience and ongoing research into this complex area of security and internal risk suggest that, in this era of doing more with less (as companies seek to boost margins), employee engagement and morale problems may be the iceberg below the surface. A recent survey by Accenture reveals that 31% of employees don’t like their boss and 43% felt they received no recognition for their work.

Here are a couple of useful ways that the leadership team can address this potential exposure and reduce the risk of employee cybercrime;

  • First and foremost, leaders and managers should identify the “at-risk” population. If you do not know who they are, the problem is clear. Reach out to these disengaged employees and increase the honest communications. Even if performance issues need to be addressed, open and honest communications is a win-win.
  • Engaged employees feel empowered and trusted to be creative and deliver the results you have asked for.  Consider allowing employees to come up a flexible work schedule or a new method for accomplishing a task (even though you don’t think it can work). Tell them what the assignment is and the result expected and consider NOT telling them how to do it.  You might be amazed at the results.

Why is all this important?  Because a company’s greatest cyber-crime vulnerability can be its own workforce. As business leaders implement the challenging measures to “do more with less”, keep your most valuable asset, your workforce, close and engage them in the journey.  Failure to do this raises the risk of gradually turning the dis-engaged employee into cyber-crime perpetrators. Overworked and under-appreciated drones are ultimately your biggest and most virulent liabilities.

For more information contact Tom Coyle at