As we all navigate through the “Great Resignation” and the changes taking place in the workforce, one thing employers should keep in mind is: for all the talk about rising wages and workers being able to “name their price,” many workers are still struggling financially. This leads to higher stress levels, lower productivity, and increased downtime — not to mention increased health insurance claims, especially for stress-related conditions.
Since the onset of the pandemic, 91% of employees say they have faced a personal financial issue, whether struggling to maintain a household budget, reduce debt, or build emergency short-term savings, according to research from Morgan Stanley at Work.
Another eye-opening statistic: The average US consumer worries about money six times a day.
Louise is a worker in Texas who makes $3,450 a month as a hospital data administrator. Louise is a single parent with a college-age daughter who she is helping with school expenses. Louise has always been careful with her money, is an avid coupon-clipper, and searches for online discounts and deals before making any major purchases. However, when her hours were cut back due to the cancellation of elective surgeries at the start of the pandemic, Louise was forced to make some serious choices: whether to make her car payment that gets her to work, or her utility bill payment. For the first time in her life, she had to seek food assistance at a couple of area food pantries so she could put her food money toward her rent. She did this for months — all without missing a day of work. But not an hour went by during her shifts where she wasn’t thinking — and stressing — about her financial situation. Louise admits her anxiety levels have increased and that she is unable to consistently focus 100% of her attention on her job during the day.
Research backs up Louise’s claim.
In a 2021 financial wellness survey from PwC, almost two-thirds of employees said their financial stress has increased since the start of the pandemic. Survey respondents who reported that their financial strain had escalated were nearly four times as likely to admit their finances have been a distraction at work.
How many of your employees are feeling the same way?
What can a CEO or a business owner do to help employees find their financial footing again so they can be productive in the workplace? It’s not enough anymore to simply offer a 401(k) when many employees can’t picture a financial future beyond the end of the month.
Employees are saying they want help with their finances from their employers. They indicated the benefit they would like to see most in their benefit package is help in achieving financial wellness.
Offering financial wellness resources at your company can be a welcome first step. You may even consider helping your staff navigate through financial difficulty by providing them with an on-site financial coach of their own. Additionally, because a person’s desire for privacy is understandably so strong when it comes to their finances, it’s a good idea to offer digital resources for employees to develop their financial literacy skills at their own pace and when they feel the need.
Through comprehensive financial education and counseling, staff training, and online tools, BALANCE helps employees create an action plan to pay off debt, save for a child’s education, create a budget, or set up a debt repayment plan to get back on track financially so they can worry less about their personal finances.