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Employee financial wellbeing: the secret struggle hurting your bottom line

Financial stress costs Australian businesses over $31 billion annually in lost revenue. Here's how you can help your team address their concerns.
Published 3 Sep 2022
Updated 31 Oct 2022
6 min read
Financial Wellbeing: The Secret Struggle Hurting Your Business

Are you across your employee’s financial wellbeing? As the future of work starts to blur the lines between work-life balance, work-life integration, and many other workplace wellness trends forecasted for the decade ahead, it’s now easier than ever for an employee’s wellbeing to take a dip.

You’re probably aware of how to support your employees physical and mental health, but what about their financial wellbeing? In times of economic uncertainty and the rising cost of living, you could have an employee under immense financial difficulty and not even know.

At the end of the day, the support you provide your employees can have a great impact on their professional and personal life, so it’s important you support employees in every way you can.

Who’s responsible for supporting financial wellbeing at work?

Human resources are the go-to people when employees are faced with tough times in their personal lives. This is no different when it comes to financial hardship.

There are many ways you, as a people manager, can assist your team’s journey to financial wellness.

However, if you’re sitting there thinking, “what has my team’s financial wellbeing got to do with me in human resources?” We’re here to tell you – a lot.

While it might sound easier to turn a blind eye to your employee’s financial worries, it could actually cost you greatly.

The impact of poor financial wellbeing

They say that money talks, but why is no one talking about money? When an employee is struggling with money worries and poor financial wellbeing, it can have a knock-on effect that could lead to a decrease in staff performance.

In Australia, wage growth remains stagnant, and the cost of living is rising. This is placing more stress on individuals to cover basic necessities – which could lead to an impact on their mental health.

According to a study by SHMR, 83% of HR and people managers reported that an employee’s financial worries can impact their performance at work.

Additionally, another study by PWC found that almost half of employees who are stressed about their current financial situation are less productive at work.

Our own research shows that 21% of Australians don’t have access to $500 in case of emergency.

“1 in 4 Australian workers are financially stressed.”

With statistics like this, it’s important that you put a plan in place to support employee financial wellbeing.

Benefits of prioritising employees financial wellbeing

More often than not, those under financial difficulties will suffer in silence and not seek help.

These financial concerns can lead to an impact on their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as their ability to perform in their role as they normally would.

Though you may not know which of your employees may be suffering from financial stress, you can introduce initiatives to better support all your employees’ financial wellbeing.

Doing so won’t just improve their overall wellbeing, it will also improve productivity, retention and engagement. Win-win, right?

You’ll also reap the benefits of workplace wellbeing in the long term, as companies who support their employees’ wellbeing see lower rates of absenteeism.

While employee financial wellbeing can be perceived as a tricky topic of discussion, it’s one that can make a real difference and is very valuable to those who need it most.

We all know that happier employees are more productive and engaged than their unhappy counterparts.

We also know that there are many different factors that can influence the happiness of employees, with many workplace wellbeing initiatives available to employers wanting to improve productivity and in turn, profitability.

How to improve financial wellbeing in the workplace

If you want your employees’ to have a healthy financial future, it’s important to educate and equip them with the tools they need to make informed decisions.

It’s important that you offer your employees access to services or perks that can help improve their financial wellbeing.

If you’re ready to talk the talk and walk the walk, read on as we explain five ways you can work with other teams in the business to educate and improve your employees’ financial literacy.

1. Start a conversation on financial wellbeing support

So what steps can employers take to improve employee financial wellness? First, they can start a conversation.

While we know your finance team aren’t readily available to give in-depth financial advice to each and every employee, giving general advice is a great place to start

This doesn’t have to be in person – employers can simply share financial wellness guides via email or post them in common areas, along with links to ASIC’s Money Smart or other free financial education resources.

While providing impartial guidance is important, it is also important that employers and line managers are conscious of which employees might be most vulnerable to financial issues.

2. Organise sessions to cover basic financial literacy

There’s no denying we don’t get taught much about financial literacy in school or university.

When it comes to talking about finances, it’s important to acknowledge everyone has a different background, education level, and financial capability.

As a people manager, why not team up with your finance department to organise a lunch and learn session? It’s a great opportunity for people to ask questions related to finance whilst also getting the finance professionals in your team to share advice.

A great example of a lunch and learn would be around how to lodge a tax return. The session could include the basics of submitting a tax return and include what you can and can’t claim.

3. Offer an employee benefits package

It’s important to remember that workplace benefits and perks aren’t just for fun, but they’re practical too!

By offering additional benefits to your business, you can reduce the financial pressure on your team.

At Employment Hero, some of the perks we receive are:

  • Free breakfast
  • Personal training sessions
  • Yoga
  • Basketball competitions
  • Coffee and tea available in the kitchen

Having these workplace benefits can improve your team’s mental and physical wellbeing, especially when you add in exercise perks – hello endorphins!

4. Boost your EVP with InstaPay

Did you know that 21% of Australians don’t have access to at least $500 in case of an emergency? This statistic means they are forced to take out payday loans with extremely high-interest repayments, which can ultimately lead to further debt and more stress.

At Employment Hero, we offer our customers and their employees access to InstaPay. InstaPay allows your team to access a portion of their earned wages prior to their official payday. If you’re wanting to use InstaPay in your business and give your employees’ the opportunity to access their wages in real-time, get in touch with us today

One of our friendly small business experts will walk you through a demo.

5. Support your team with access to an EAP

It’s important to acknowledge how financial stress can impact your employees’ mental wellbeing. Without your team directly telling you their financial stress is impacting their mental health, it’s hard for you to know.

By offering access to an EAP (Employee Assistance Program), they will have access to confidential professional services 24/7.

At Employment Hero, our EAP gives access to online, face-to-face or over-the-phone wellbeing support when the employee needs it most. We also offer a manager support hotline and immediate crisis counselling.

If this is something you want to provide your team with, get in touch with us today, and we’ll run you through a demo of Employment Hero.

Help employees say goodbye to money worries

At the end of the day, you can play a significant role in aiding employees’ financial wellbeing and freedom. While it’s often seen as a hush-hush topic, it’s important to remember that employers have a duty of care.

Showing employees that you care about all aspects of their wellbeing (physical, mental and financial) is about more than just helping your employees. It’ll also help your business.

Consider how you can implement different perks and activities in the workplace to ensure employees have the opportunity to receive financial education and support.

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Annabel Thompson
Customer Marketing Executive Manager - Employment Hero
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