Many of us have experienced many a sleepless night over money and it's often a cause of woe and worry during the day as well. Therefore, the fact that a recent survey found that employee financial worries are causing an increasing number of problems in the workplace – and costing employers a significant amount of money themselves should really come as no surprise.
The study, conducted by global finance company PricewaterhouseCoopers found that over half of employees who admit they have at least some financial worries have missed work at least occasionally because of it. These employees, when asked, also admitted, for the most part, that their money worries do affect their ability to concentrate at work at the highest levels more often than they would like.
And according to PWC, who are the world's foremost number crunchers, this translates for a firm with 10,000 employees into around $2.5 million a year, which is a significant amount. The fact that similar results were found within much smaller firms as well is even more concerning.
The study also found that Millennials seem to cope with the stresses of money and work particularly badly. It found that they spend at least three hours a week – at work – dealing with personal financial issues rather than actually doing their jobs. And many of these employees don't even own a home or have a family yet, so things may only get worse once the majority do.
Lending a Guiding Hand .. Carefully
So what is a poor employer supposed to do about all of this apart from tearing their hair out? According to many experts, the key is taking a role that often no one does within communities these days; as a financial educator.
Such an initiative does have to be carefully thought out though. To begin with, employers should not assume that it is only their lower earners that are affected. Many people earning higher salaries are often worried about money too, especially when it comes to rising property costs and the lingering specter of credit card debt.
Employees are also likely to feel targeted and offended if certain groups are singled out, something that will only breed resentment and discontent. Instead, a financial education plan should be presented as a company-wide initiative, one designed to help everyone get a better handle on their finances, no matter what they earn.
What should such initiatives offer? Any education should be accessible to all, informative and non-judgemental. It should be empowering and easy to follow. To prompt real behavioral change, financial advice needs be personalized. An employee should be able to recognize, 'This feels right for me. I can do this.' By giving employees only their few most important next steps, in manageable bites that can be accomplished in a period of time, they are empowered to focus and act while not feeling targeted or judged.
Some companies may very well have the personnel in-house to help create these kinds of programs others may have to seek outside help from financial advisors. There are also a growing number of online tools that can be utilized as well. However, one thing is for sure; the faster they recognize the problem and implement some form of financial education for employees the less money they stand to lose and the happier (and even healthier) their employees will be.