A recent survey by FinFit revealed a shocking statistic about financial wellbeing:
86% of employers think that financial stress is leading to an increase in absenteeism, a lowering of productivity and increased distraction for their employees while they are in the workplace.
Could money worries be undoing all the other good work you are trying to achieve with your wellness strategy?
We are all on the crusade to make sure our employees are fit and well, and have the right work-life balance they need to feel valued and be productive in their roles. Find out more strategies about work-life balance in this article.
When it comes to physical wellbeing, it is really easy to see where employees need help. We can run health assessments, and offer tools to give staff day-to-day support, through discounted gym memberships, wearable tech and an ever-growing assortment of health tracking apps.
Issues with financial wellbeing are a lot more difficult to spot. Nobody walks around the office or factory floor with a sign on their back saying "I am in 30k of debt." The question is: how do we spot these signs in modern day business?
1. Taking money from the retirement pot.
One of the biggest indicators that employees need financial help is where companies see employees taking money from their savings, pension or 401(k) plan (USA) as a payday loan. This does not even have to be a large amount of the population, but what it will indicate is that employees do not have any emergency fund or savings, and that employees are not budgeting month to month.
2. Working overtime.
You may see an increased number of employees volunteering to work overtime or take on extra shifts, in order to earn more.
As a business you may also see year-on-year an increase in absenteeism from employees, where they have taken time off due to financial stress.
4. EAP uptake.
9 in 10 of us lose sleep over money troubles so a telling sign can also be the percentage of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) calls your employees are making, related to financial stress and worries.
5. Changes to savings contributions.
You may also see fluctuating rates in your employees' pension or 401(k) contributions. This can reveal that staff are making adjustments to their contributions in order to get by month to month. This may be particularly evident in the holiday season when costs run high, and there are more expenses than usual to shell out for.
6. Lack of healthcare investment.
When reviewing your Healthcare selections (USA), you may see a number of employees choosing the cheapest option which does not seem to match with their demographic or pay. It may be a signal that they are taking the lower option because it is the cheapest rather than the one that benefits them the most.
The truth is if your employees are not in control of their financial wellbeing then without a doubt it will impact their physical and mental wellbeing.
As employers, we need to start to bridge the gap for employees and give them tools to help them make financial wellbeing simple, fun and engaging.
Financial health is just as important as physical and mental wellbeing and we need to start addressing that with wellbeing strategy. The signs might not be as obvious as some health issues, but as employers, we have to take the first step. It's up to you to give them the tools to manage their finances, maximise take-home pay and save for the future.