Financially Stressed Employees can be Fertile Ground for Employers

Financial Stress

Financially stressed employees create a drain on an employer’s resources.  When an employer is strapped with a cadre of financially stressed employees – performance suffers.  This can occur at the employee level or at the employer level, or both.  Stressed employees want help from their employers to manage those worries.

So says a new survey from financial services provider SoFi at Work and HR research advisory Workplace Intelligence, cited recently in Employee Benefit News. The survey found that just over half (51%) of employees are experiencing more money stress today than they were at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and they spend about a quarter of their workweek dealing with financial concerns.

Their chief sources of financial stress included:

  • Not having enough money for retirement;
  • Dealing with credit card debt; and
  • Struggling to pay for basic expenses like rent, mortgage, or food.

The survey also found there is a huge perception gap between employers and the workforce when it comes to addressing financial stress.  Although a majority of HR leaders (80%) say they want to do more to help employees manage financial stress, 45% of employees say they feel their company isn’t concerned about addressing these stressors.

However, offering financial wellness benefits is critical for employers who want to improve productivity, engagement, and retention.  Those that do so will help their companies stand out from the pack by showing they’re truly invested in their employees’ financial well being, and those employers will be victorious in the talent war.

At a time when millions of employees are leaving their jobs or looking to switch employers, differentiators like financial wellness can help move the dial on enhancing recruiting and employee loyalty and satisfaction.  These, along with improvements in productivity, are all positive benefits for the bottom line.  The impact of financial stress is worth addressing.

Most employees (86%) say financial stress impacts their productivity, and 84% say it affects their job satisfaction.  Moreover, 80% say financial challenges negatively impact their physical and mental health, according to the Sofi and Workplace Intelligence survey.  Financial stress can also effect retirement planning.  More than a third of employees say they plan to push back their retirement date by six years in an attempt to achieve additional financial stability.

Some employees want to start taking control now – around 40% are planning to prioritize retirement savings in 2022.  That said, many workers don’t know what to do to move their financial goals forward.  This presents an opportunity for employers to offer their financially stressed employees and the entire workforce additional guidance via financial wellness programs.  This can include access to a financial professional who can help employees prioritize their financial goals beyond meeting near-term needs.  Third-party financial education lunch and learns and virtual education meetings can also help workers feel less stressed about their finances and help them focus on achieving their own goals.

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