Employers have come a long way in supporting their workforce’s ‘wellbeing’. However, most have only considered physical health and more recently mental health. Now, financial wellbeing is seen as a vital third component to helping staff when they need it most.
According to Barclays*, 1 in 10 employees is struggling financially. Anyone who has known people in this situation will appreciate they tend to suffer alone, too scared or embarrassed to talk to anyone. Money worries may begin to affect work, and, in some cases, staff become stressed, unwell or simply leave.
The challenges for employers are therefore to:
- Understand what financial wellbeing is
- Recognise how money issues affect staff
- Provide support in terms of advice, education and practical help
What is financial wellbeing?
Simply put, financial wellbeing relates to how well individuals manage their finances. From daily spending, to budgeting, pensions, savings and investments. Most people want enough to support their family, have a reasonable standard of life, and money set aside for saving and investment.
However, we all know people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t have enough money. They may be in debt and stuck in a situation that could spiral out of control.
How can money issues affect staff?
A lack of financial wellbeing can have a direct impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Money worries cause stress and can make someone physically ill. Work is one of the first things to be affected. Things can turn to resentment if the affected worker believes he is not being paid enough or is not getting financial benefits linked to achievement. With no obvious sign of support or shift in business policy, the employee may leave in search of getting more money elsewhere.
What can employers do to help financial wellbeing?
Like physical and mental wellness, there are two key areas to address: prevention and treatment. Prevention covers a lot, but it centres on education. It’s still odd that personal finance is not taught at school, so you’ll be doing your staff a favour by providing finance webinars and seminars. You could hire a personal financial advisor to visit your workplace and have an ‘open door’ for staff to pop in for advice.
And you could offer practical solutions to encourage staff to save. While we all know about pensions, you could include a savings initiative linked to your payroll. Speak to Mitrefinch about its innovative payroll solutions. It offers complete flexibility and reporting, is scalable and saves your HR staff time, allowing them to invest more in staff wellbeing without the need to manually process all payroll. There’s plenty of other ways to support prevention, including vouchers, showing you care and leaving literature in communal staff areas.
If you have employees already stuck in a financial hole, then have established professional help at hand for them, or at least know where to send them when they need more support that you can’t offer them.
Benefits of financial wellbeing for your business
Your staff will be happier and more productive if they’re not worrying about financial issues. Further, there will be goodwill towards you as a company for providing preventative and educational measures to help them. And while more productivity helps the bottom line, it also means you’ll retain staff for longer. Also, it might help you attract better staff. A Barclays survey* also noted 38% of workers said they would move to a company with a strong financial wellbeing initiative.