What you can do to help your employees conquer their financial stress.
No matter how much your employees try to “leave work at work and home at home”, certain issues are just too monumental to compartmentalize. You know how hard it is to go to work on the days your heart’s not in it — now imagine feeling that level of disengagement all the time. Financial troubles can have that effect. If your staff is struggling to pay off debt, save for retirement, or even make ends meet, they may not be able to concentrate or be as productive at work. A special report conducted by Financial Finesse determined “employees who suffer from overwhelming financial stress or struggle to maintain financial stability tend to incur both immediate and future financial costs for their employer in the form of absenteeism, garnishments, payroll taxes and delayed retirement.” These are all dire consequences for your employees and for your business.
How financial stress affects employee productivity and health
You might be thinking the solution to any financial problem starts with showing up to work, but it’s more complex than that. Millions of Americans don’t make enough money to comfortably support themselves or their families, which means even if they never missed a single shift they’d still be in trouble. Bloomberg estimates the average US household debt is nearly $132 500. The median salary is only about a third of that. When taxes and living expenses are factored in, it’s obvious to see how paying off this debt could take several years if not decades.
This is an enormous burden, as you can imagine, and it’s probably weighing many of your employees down. They may struggle to get their minds off it while at work, which could slow them down as any other distraction would. Fighting to pay off debt might also weaken their relationship with your organization. If your staff sees work as nothing more than a means of survival, they’re less likely to offer new ideas and opinions or feel accountable for team success. Ideally you want your employees to be proud of their jobs and get energized by their work, but this can’t happen if all they’re looking forward to is the next paycheck.
The health effects of such intense and long-term stress can be significant. Stress can manifest in a number of ways, from physiological symptoms such as headaches and muscle tension to psychological problems like anxiety and depression. It’s not uncommon for people to overlook these warning signs, but they won’t get better on their own. Issues like this are prone to worsening without meaningful intervention, which also means more presenteeism, absenteeism, and healthcare costs in the long run. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help as an employer.
Boosting financial literacy among your staff
Forward-thinking organizations are starting to support their employees in increasingly innovative and holistic ways, one of which is through financial education. Lessons on topics like budgeting, saving for retirement, getting out of debt, and investing are made readily available to employees, usually through a program championed by human resources. The LifeSpeak library, for example, contains dozens of videos, podcasts, and tip sheets that are accessible 24/7 from any device. Our clients’ employees are welcome to log in whenever they need to receive quality advice from our financial experts. Moreover, our library also contains thousands of resources on other subjects like mental health, nutrition, and professional development. Our goal is to provide the resources your employees need to address life’s various challenges so they can live more fulfilling and productive lives. If you’d like to learn more about LifeSpeak, book a demo with us today.
Also published on Medium.