As we’ve frequently referenced in previous insights, an employee’s mental health can have a significant influence on their performance and behaviour at work and one of the biggest issues affecting an individual’s emotional wellbeing is their financial situation.
There is often a link between someone struggling with money and poor mental wellbeing and if an employee is feeling low, it can make it tougher for them to manage their money. I regularly meet employees to discuss their pension planning and there seems to be a common theme of financial anxiety. This clearly has an impact on the individual but is also likely to affect your business. An employee who is worrying about money may find it difficult to concentrate on decisions, or they may be losing sleep or feeling worried which will impact their performance and productivity at work.
Financial worries take many guises, from struggling with debt, saving for a first home through to people in their late career striving to plan for the retirement they desire.
In recent years, there has been a shift in responsibility for financial matters from the state and employer to the individual and it is becoming increasingly clear that many employees are not equipped with the knowledge to make confident, informed decisions about their finances.
So what can a company do to help its staff?
Helping support an employee’s financial wellbeing through the provision of education services is an important part of any employee benefit strategy. In my experience, many companies think of financial education as an expensive ‘nice to have’ and prioritise other benefits such as pension contributions, life and health insurance. However, financial education and improving an employee’s financial wellness can have a much more positive impact on performance and wellbeing than other company-funded benefits.
Financial education is more effective if it is delivered when it’s most relevant. The financial concerns and worries for someone in their early career are very different from those who are in the middle of their working lives or for those who are planning to face the transition in to retirement. The ways in which the education is delivered should also be varied to reflect your employee’s requirements.
By offering employees help in managing their finances, employers are making a long-term investment in their workforce. The benefits of financial education are clear; helping to support employees and improve their mental health will have a positive impact on their lives as well as business.