Work and Wellbeing · 9 October 2018

Financially insecure employees are increasingly stressed in the workplace

Workplace stress
Almost half of UK businesses offer no financial education for staff

Employees fretting about how to make ends meet financially are feeling increasingly stressed at work, new survey findings have revealed.

According to the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, 34% of employers said that staff with insufficient savings such as pensions suffer from higher stress levels.

A quarter said they had seen an increase in employee health issues due to money worries with 14% having noted higher absenteeism for the same reason.

Only 17% of employers think that poor financial management by their staff has no impact on their business.

The survey found that despite the links between money worries and stress nearly half of UK firms – 47% – neither offer financial education to staff nor plan to do so.

Only one in five businesses provide financial education to their workforce and of those, 14% described the service they offer as ‘limited’.

The most common financial education programmes are delivered via individual face-to-face meetings, with 37% choosing this method. Just over a third include group face-to-face conferences and workshops, while 25% use web-based seminars.

A further 26% include email education in their programme, and 23% use an online platform. More unusual methods include post (9%) and texts (4%).

Those who offer financial education said they do so for a variety of reasons. Around 40% see it as a valued employee benefit as well as a way to improve employees’ financial wellbeing. It also forms part of these businesses’ people strategy.

Other reasons were to improve employee engagement and productivity, assist in talent acquisition and retention and to reduce absenteeism.

“It’s clear that employees are not saving enough, nor are they saving in the most effective way. This is true for both short- and longer-term financial planning including pensions,” said Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers.

“Employers are perfectly placed to help their workforce become more confident and competent in financial decision making, in turn having a direct impact on their financial, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

“Those who receive financial education find it useful in guiding their immediate, medium, and long-term saving decisions. This then frees up employees at work to be happier, healthier, and more productive. As such, having a comprehensive financial education strategy is a win-win for employers. It could even go some way towards solving the UK’s productivity puzzle.”

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