Money worries are impacting millions of UK workers and the current economic uncertainty is having a detrimental effect on mental health. Financial concerns can lead to poor mental health, sleepless nights, and stress-related illnesses, and businesses need to be taking action.
Not your problem?
You might think that the financial status of your employees is not a concern for your business. However, the reality is that employee financial distress contributes to absenteeism, presenteeism, high staff turnover and low productivity. This is all costing businesses millions of pounds every year.
In fact, research by Neyber before the pandemic found that employee financial worries cost employers around £15.2bn each year.
What to do
Many businesses want to do more to support their employees. Financial wellbeing programmes are a popular approach. But for a wellbeing programme to be successful, there a number of things that businesses need to take into consideration:
1) Have a whole approach
Your approach needs to be comprehensive. Don’t just provide standalone financial training. Rather, offer a comprehensive approach that includes things like training, personal financial diagnosis and tracking, and options for solutions and support.
2) Talk about it
There is no point in having a good programme if nobody is going to use it. So you must ensure that you put out consistent and regular communications about the programmes you offer. This will ensure that they achieve a high level of employee engagement and make a difference.
3) Ensure confidentiality
Employees need to have peace-of-mind that their sensitive information is confidential and secure. Any financial wellbeing programme that you choose to implement must give employees privacy. Money worries can be an extremely sensitive issue, so reassure employees that their information is safe.
4) Signpost, don’t overstep
Do not step into giving employees financial advice unless you are a trained financial counsellor or advisor. Instead, always signpost employees to qualified professionals who can ensure that the right advice is given.
5) Practice what you preach
Ensure that financial wellbeing remains on the company agenda. Match the company’s actions to the company’s words. For example, you should never automatically expect employees to pay company expenses upfront and then reclaim them back. If that’s not possible, then ensure that expenses are reimbursed immediately afterwards.
6) Check the impact
If your business is implementing a new employee wellbeing programme, you must measure its effects. Only then will you know if it’s making a difference. You can measure the impact in a variety of ways, such as by:
- Using staff surveys
- Conducting focus groups
- Using exit interviews
- Monitoring absenteeism, presenteeism, staff turnover and productivity rates
Read more about how we help employers to support employees with our digital platform and mental health consultancy on our main site, Mente.