If one of your employees was struggling financially, would you know? Money worries might be one of the most common causes of stress, affecting individuals both at work and at home, but it’s unlikely that employees will share their concerns with their employer.
According to Neyber’s DNA of Financial Wellbeing 2018 research, only 3% of the 10,000 employees surveyed said that they would turn to HR or to their line manager if they had financial worries.
Why is there such a lack of willingness to trust employers when it comes to sharing financial worries? Is it a fear that our bosses will judge us, or consider us untrustworthy at work because we haven’t managed to become financial experts in our sleep?
Many employers don’t see it that way. They are genuinely keen to help staff improve their financial wellbeing, not least because doing so benefits both employees and the business itself. But employers are still at the back of the queue when it comes to individuals seeking help with money worries. In fact, our research found that employees would prefer to battle through financial problems themselves than to seek help at work.
Creating an environment of trust is an essential part of delivering a successful financial wellbeing strategy. Employers are perfectly placed to help staff deal with debt, plan for day-to-day living, get the best possible support with housing costs and save for retirement. But first, they need to convince employees that they are willing to help.
Everyone in an organisation has a part to play in making that culture change happen. HR departments might be in charge of deciding what’s included in a financial wellbeing strategy, but line managers really know their staff. They are best placed to spot warning signs, such as a drop-off in performance, or other signs of stress. Training managers to have open conversations with their staff and making sure they are aware of what’s on offer to help employees is every bit as important as financial education or savings products.
Neyber’s research showed that 63% of employees are suffering from some form of money-related stress. There is a huge opportunity here for businesses to really make a difference to the lives of their staff, and in the process to benefit from better engagement, improved productivity and talent retention.
To convince employees that they want to help, employers need to genuinely understand the issues that staff are facing, build an environment where help and guidance is readily available – without judgment or detriment to individuals’ future work prospects – and make those values part of an organisation’s everyday working culture. Only then will employees see the workplace as somewhere they can be open about money problems and get the support they really need to improve their financial health.