Research shows that employees with financial problems spend a good deal of their time at work dealing with personal financial matters. They also have higher levels of stress and absenteeism. Helping your employees gain control of their finances may have a bigger effect on the bottom line than you think. 

Manager Makeover: Help employees be financially fit

Research shows that employees with financial problems spend a good deal of their time at work dealing with personal financial matters. They also have higher levels of stress and absenteeism. Helping your employees gain control of their finances may have a bigger effect on the bottom line than you think.

Financial worries affect employee health and productivity

Worries about money and resulting stress levels have an impact on productivity and employee health, according to a new survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers. PwC's 2011 "Financial Wellness Survey" found that a growing number of working adults are struggling to make ends meet and are concerned about not having sufficient emergency savings. Stressful situations like dealing with a foreclosure or reduced retirement savings affect work and well-being. Consider these facts from the survey: 

  • Almost half of workers (49 percent of respondents) find it difficult to meet their household expenses on time (that's up from 43 percent in 2010).
  • Financial stress affects workers of all ages and those across all incomes. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they find dealing with their financial situation stressful and 56 percent said their stress level had increased over the past 12 months.
  • Financial concerns affect productivity. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said personal financial issues have been a distraction at work and 48 percent said they've handled their personal finances during work hours.
Helping employees take charge of their financial well-being

Most organizations offer a wealth of information and services to empower employees to take charge of their financial well-being, from financial counseling through the EAP to company benefits like savings plans and spending accounts. But general lack of knowledge about benefits and programs like these prevents many employees from taking advantage of the resources available to them. That's where you can help as a manager. 

  • Be sure all of your employees are aware of the EAP and other workplace benefits available to assist them with financial, work, and personal and family issues. Be sure they are aware of all savings plans, discounts programs, flexible spending accounts, and programs like the EAP.
  • Encourage them to use the EAP. The EAP offers a broad range of help with financial issues: managing financial stress; budgeting; saving; assistance with creditors, getting debt under control; concerns about foreclosure; finding fuel or utility assistance programs; finding assistance for older relatives; assistance with retirement questions. The program offers telephone counseling, workshops, online resources, seminars, podcasts, and monthly newsletters on money matters. Give employees the phone number and email contact information for the program. Remind them that the service is free and confidential.
Financial literacy benefits employers and employees

"Five to seven years ago participants were calling us about how to save for retirement and how to plan for the future, says Ceridian Senior Product Manager Jennifer Piliero. "We've seen a real shift in the nature of the financial calls we're getting. They've shifted from longer term financial planning issues to consults with individuals in financial crisis -- facing loss of income, erosion of retirement funds or savings, and struggling with how to make ends meet. We're providing both financial and emotional support; all of our financial counselors are master's level clinicians as well." She points to research showing that financial education and counseling benefit both employers and employees, leading to improved employee health and work performance. So encourage your employees to take advantage of the benefits available to them through work. Help them gain control of their financial lives. 

Contact us for more information about Ceridian LifeWorks EAP and Financial Coaching services.

Sources: 

  1. "Cash and debt management issues prevent employees from saving for retirement; nearly half of working US Adults find it difficult to pay household expenses on time," PwC
  2. "Retirement Financial Literacy and Education Strategy," U.S. Office of Personnel Management
  3. "Employee Personal Financial Distress and How Employers Can Help," Research Works, February 2009