Why should businesses care if their employees are worried about money? Surely employers give employees a salary and a pension, then it’s down to them to manage it themselves. Don’t companies have enough financial worries of their own without taking on their staff’s issues too?
While it might be tempting for employers to take a hands-off approach to employees’ financial wellbeing, doing so could be seriously bad for business.
Neyber’s DNA of Financial Wellbeing 2018 research found that 63% of employees have been negatively affected by financial worries in the last year. Forty-five percent said that money concerns affect their performance at work, and 10% said that they couldn’t focus during the day. Twenty six per cent lost sleep, 20% felt depressed - and 35% said that they had generally felt stressed about money in the last year.
Imagine how workplace productivity might increase and absence decrease if employers could help their staff resolve those issues.
Employees are crying out for more help. Fifty-five percent of those in our survey said that they would like more information or advice about their finances. But while only 32% of employees say their employer cares about their financial health, 50% of employers believe that they care.
There is a clear gap between what employees and employers think when it comes to financial wellbeing. Even if businesses think they are being supportive, staff clearly think otherwise. But the good news is that there are plenty of ways that employers can narrow that gap. Here are three ways to help:
Know your workforce. Financial wellbeing doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. Understanding your workforce and their needs is essential to deliver the right help and support. There are many different ways of doing that, from holding focus groups, to using data from an employee assistance programme to tell you more about the problems staff are facing.
Communicate clearly. Perhaps one of the reasons why employees think their employer isn’t giving them support is because they don’t know what’s available to them. Make sure that communications about financial wellbeing and benefits are clear and appropriate.
Be inclusive. Different staff will have different needs. Some will require support with debt issues, others might want to know about mortgages, or how best to save for retirement. Make sure that everyone can benefit from the help on offer – and don’t assume that financial wellbeing is only for lower-paid workers. Workers at all levels struggle financially.
Employers can no longer ignore one of the biggest sources of worry for their workforce. A commitment to supporting staff with financial wellbeing is also a commitment to better engagement and productivity at work.