Employee productivity can be directly correlated with the overall profitability and general health of an organization. An effective workforce, to no one’s surprise, produces an effective product or service. However, many employers are overlooking one of the top issues negatively affecting productivity – problems with personal finances.
According to the 2014 PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 24 percent of American employees admit personal finances have been a struggle at work, while 60 percent of Gen Y employees report financial stress.
The burdens of financial stress permeate all facets of life, including the workplace. It can be difficult for employees to perform at their top levels if a large credit card bill is looming or if they’re wondering how they’ll fund their kids’ education or pay the mortgage.
To combat this productivity issue, employers are finding new ways to provide personal finance perks and assistance. Opportunities may include:
• Introduce Financial Workshops & Presentations – Arm employees with knowledge about common financial issues that can derail a budget, such as dealing with credit card or student loan debt, how to build an emergency fund or how to break negative spending habits. Enlist the assistance of financial experts in the community and host presentations in the office or via a webinar.
• Provide Access to Financial Resources & Experts – Employees who are struggling with finances may not know where to turn for help. Providing them with access to financial resources enables them to help themselves in scenarios they wish to keep confidential. Financial services, such as credit counseling, debt management, student loan counseling, housing counseling and financial planning, are available to companies for free or at discounted rates.
• Incorporate Financial Education into Existing Communications – Utilize existing employee communication channels, such as a company intranet or newsletter, to educate workers about timely financial tips. How can employees save money on summer bills? What should employees do to prepare for the next tax season? How can they save money on holiday gifts? Regular communication helps keep smart financial moves top of mind.
• Enhance Employee Benefit Packages – Productivity alone isn’t the only reason for empowering and educating employees about personal finances. Employers are enhancing their benefit and incentive packages to include customized financial assistance as a way to boost recruitment efforts, improve morale and job satisfaction, and reduce garnishments and advance requests. A recent Aon Hewitt survey of 400 companies found 76% of companies are somewhat or very likely to expand their focus on the financial wellbeing of their employees in 2014.
Aiding employees with their personal finances can have a positive impact at the workplace, ultimately boosting the bottom line as productivity and morale improve. Digital technologies combined with personalized expertise are making it feasible for companies of all sizes to easily and affordably support their staff’s financial needs and goals.
Michael Sullivan serves a Chief Education and Operations Officer for Take Charge America, Inc., a national nonprofit financial education and counseling agency headquartered in Phoenix. He oversees the organization’s Financial Wellness program for employers, which provides opportunities for group and one-on-one financial education, as well as employee discounts on counseling services through Take Charge America.