Benefits of promoting financial wellness at your workplace

Woman meditating on her desk

As a business owner, you’re no doubt aware that low employee productivity levels, absenteeism and high attrition rates have a direct effect on your company’s bottom line.

And if you have a relatively high rate of attrition or underproductivity at your workplace, it may not be clear why this occurs, because the reality is, it’s probably not really talked about.

But, if there’s one worry that everyone can relate to in their working lives, it’s juggling multiple financial pressures.

Financial worries
Student loans and other debts bog down millennials who are just getting started. Members of Generation X may be in the prime of their careers but are pinched caring for children and ageing parents. Baby boomers are preparing for retirement. It’s safe to assume they don’t leave these worries at the door when they come to work.

That’s where financial wellness in the workplace comes in. Financial wellness is the term used to empower employees with confidence to make informed decisions about money-related decisions, and by taking control of their finances could positively impact an employee’s mental health. Inevitably, happy staff are more productive and attentive.

Financial wellness
Financial wellness is fast becoming a well-known term as more and more think-tanks research the links between employee money-matters and happiness whilst at work.

The Vitality Health Insurance annual report into Britain’s Healthiest Workplaces published in 2017 revealed that UK employees lost on average 11.7% of their working hours last year due to absence (0.8%) and presenteeism (10.9%).

More than half of people surveyed aged between 26-40 years old have at least some financial concerns, and employees with these concerns are twice as likely to be obese and seven times more likely to suffer from depression than those without any financial concerns.

EY also issued a report looking into financial wellness in the workplace and reported that three in ten (30%) employees think about their personal finances while at work, and more than half say they would be more productive without these worries.

What are other companies doing about it?
Nearly half (45%) of organisations in the UK are now taking steps towards tackling this issue. The REBA Employee Wellbeing Research 2018 shows that 6 in 10 boards are driving new agendas believing that mental wellbeing of staff is their top priority and almost half of these employers have put a wellbeing strategy in place to help tackle the issue.

Take Kingfisher Group for example, as part of a five-year campaign they introduced a unique way to engage their 14,000 Kingfisher staff following their successful auto enrolment into their workplace pension scheme. The game ‘Bolt (to the finish)’ was designed to fit a wide-range of ages and demographics with messaging aimed at supporting their workforce, by providing knowledge to staff to help make informed decisions around long-term saving.

What can my business do?
If you’re looking for some ways to start improving the health and wellbeing of your staff,  you could begin by asking your HR department to run a survey on the financial wellness of your own employees and by making it anonymous, those who feel they can’t speak up about their problems may feel it easier to share their information with you.

Taking this feedback on board is the first step to help addressing your employees’ financial wellness. There are lots of examples out there of best practice, so it’s worth researching this topic further. You may be surprised that by adopting this approach this could have positive effects on staff engagement and attendance.