With Christmas approaching and the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail promotions, the pressure to spend is currently at a peak.
Financial worries account for a high proportion of the stress felt by employees in the workplace today. This can be attributed to the rising costs of living combined with the stagnation of salaries. The impact of personal finances on your employee’s health can be felt heavily by the employer in ways such as increased absence and lower productivity.
So, is there anything that employers can do to support employee financial wellbeing?
Whilst some employers are tempted to lend money to their employees to get them out of a financial hole, this may not always be the answer. It can effectively generate an increased level of bad debt so be careful before doing this. If you do go down this route, ensure that you have a loan agreement signed by both parties before the loan is paid.
An alternative is to look at the free options available to support your employees to change the cycle of debt. Charities such as Step Change offer support to those who do not know where to turn. Advice and support may also be available if you have an Employee Assistance Programme.
Another way of offering support is to contact your benefits provider (if you have one) to see if they offer financial services. Some providers hold finance clinics at your place of work so employees have someone to talk to in person. If you don’t have this facility, then you could always arrange a finance awareness training session offered by some major banks.
The important thing for employers to acknowledge is that the days of employees “leaving their problems at the door” no longer exist. By employers proactively communicating that financial support is available, it makes employees aware that they are not alone. This can help to support better working relationships, reduce stress related absence and also improve performance.
In summary, it is within the employer’s interest to ensure that financial issues are not simply swept under the carpet so that their employees are less distracted and more productive during their working day.