Americans often experience anxiety and emotional strain related to money, whether they are living paycheck to paycheck, suffering unexpected financial setbacks, or feeling constantly behind financially.
- The 2023 CNBC Your Money Financial Confidence Survey found that 70% of Americans are stressed about their personal finances.
- 72% of Americans said they are not financially secure and 26% expect that they will never be completely financially secure, according to a 2023 survey by BankRate.
“A report from financial wellness firms Salary Finance and FinFit found that workers at all income levels are feeling financial stress—nearly 60 percent of those making under $55,000 feel financial stress, but roughly 40 percent of those making over $200,000 feel it, too."
- Kathryn Mayer, Society for Human Resources Management
This stress can lead to mental and physical health issues, hinder job performance, and strain relationships. It's a self-perpetuating cycle: financial stress causes health issues, which in turn can lead to increased medical costs and reduced earning potential, exacerbating the financial stress further.
💰How Financial Stress Impacts Employees
Financial stress can have a significant detrimental effect on employees’ job performance, manifesting in a variety of ways.
Financial stress often leads to absenteeism in the workplace due to the mental and physical health complications it can induce.
Employees may be physically present, but their job performance is negatively affected by their stress levels.
Financial stress can result in employees taking longer to complete tasks or working more slowly and making more mistakes.
Lack of focus
The constant worry about money may dominate the employee’s thinking, impairing their ability to concentrate on work tasks.
Financial stress can lead to employees feeling demoralized and overwhelmed, reducing their engagement with work.
Stress can manifest in physical health problems such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue.
It’s important for employers to understand the impact of financial stress on their workforce, and it’s equally important for employees to recognize when they’re struggling with financial anxieties and take the necessary steps to address them.
Can Employers Help Employees Deal with Financial Stress?
Employees' financial stress can take a big toll on companies. Writing in Financial Post, Victoria Wells quotes a new report by the National Payroll Institute, saying, "Employee financial stress is expected to cost companies more than $40 billion in lost productivity this year."
Clearly, companies have an interest in minimizing employee financial stress for the benefit of both their employees and themselves.
In the past, money was often seen as a taboo subject in the workplace. However, today's employees are more open to the opportunities their organizations provide to help them minimize financial stress.
Just as efforts by companies to support physical and mental well-being are now widely seen in a positive light, so are their initiatives to enhance employees' financial wellness.
In fact, a 2022 Bank of America survey found that 80% of employees felt that employers should play a role in supporting their financial wellness.
According to a 2019 Employee Financial Wellness Survey by PwC, employees said that financial wellness is best defined by a number of factors.
By generation, the survey found that:
- 27% of Baby Boomer employees reported that lower healthcare costs would most help them achieve their financial goals.
- 31% of Millennials and 25% of Gen X employees were looking for better job security.
Of course, every person's situation is unique, and there are no one-size-fits-all answers, but companies that make the effort to address financial stress will find that it is positively impactful.
Tips For Helping Employees with Financial Issues
As with other employee wellness efforts, an employee assistance program is a great place to start a new financial wellness program or enhance an existing one. EAPs can help navigate the touchy subject of money by providing a third-party perspective and can share best practices used by other companies.
7 ways companies can support employees with financial stress:
Financial education courses or seminars can help employees better understand their options and become more confident in making their own informed decisions. These courses should be tailored to the company's culture, number of employees, and available resources.
401(k) matching programs
Many companies offer 401(k) matching programs, which encourages employees to contribute a portion of their income to a retirement plan. This can help employees save for the future and reduce financial stress in other areas.
financial assistance programs
Organizations that offer financial assistance programs, such as zero-interest loans or tuition reimbursement, provide employees with additional resources that can help them manage their finances better. These programs may also be used to support employees who are going through a tough financial period.
flexible spending accounts
Flexible spending accounts can be used to set aside pre-tax dollars to cover certain medical or childcare expenses, which can reduce overall out-of-pocket costs and help employees better manage their finances.
benefits extension programs
Employers can also extend benefits such as health insurance or life insurance to their employees, giving them an additional safety net in the event of financial hardship or a job loss.
financial planning services
Finally, employers can provide access to financial planning services so that employees can create personalized plans and achieve their long-term goals. This may include one-on-one sessions with a financial planner, access to online tools, or both.
mental health counseling
Counseling can help employees deal with the stress that financial issues cause. Employers can offer mental health counseling services to their employees, such as free or discounted sessions with a mental health professional.
By making an effort to address their employees’ financial stress, organizations can provide them with greater financial security and help them become more productive and engaged in their work. Financial wellness programs may also help reduce employee turnover as well as overall healthcare costs associated with managing physical and mental health issues related to financial stress.
Talking with Employees About Financial Issues
Money matters can be intensely personal for some people, so leaders should understand how to address them in a compassionate, sensitive way.
When talking to employees about stress, it’s important to be understanding and sympathetic. Showing empathy can go a long way in helping employees feel more comfortable discussing their issues.
Here are some additional suggestions:
- Talk to employees in private. Don't discuss financial issues in front of other employees.
- Be respectful and understanding. Remember that financial problems can be very stressful for people.
- Don't judge. It's not your place to judge an employee's financial situation.
- Be clear about your goals. What do you hope to achieve by talking to the employee about their financial situation?
- Be supportive. Offer to help the employee find resources or connect them with financial professionals.
- Be patient. It may take time for the employee to open up to you about their financial problems.
- Start by asking open-ended questions. This will help you get a better understanding of the employee's situation.
- Avoid making assumptions. Don't assume that you know what the employee is going through.
- Be willing to listen. The employee may need to vent or share their feelings.
- Offer practical help. This could include directing the employee to your company’s employee assistance program or providing other financial resources.
- Encourage the employee to seek professional help. If the employee is struggling to manage their finances, they may need to see a therapist (how about your EAP? Don't have one we can help with that!)
It is important to remember that talking to employees about financial issues can be a delicate matter. By following these tips, you can help ensure that the conversation is productive and supportive.
Financial stress is an issue that affects many employees, yet it often goes unacknowledged in the workplace. With the right resources and support, however, employers can help their employees manage financial stress and achieve greater overall well-being.
When you partner with Ulliance, our Life Advisor Consultants are always just a phone call away to teach ways to enhance your work/life balance and increase your happiness. The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program can help employees and employers come closer to a state of total well-being.
Investing in the right EAP or Wellness Program to support your employees will help them and help you. Visit https://ulliance.com/ or call 866-648-8326.
The Ulliance Employee Assistance Program can address the
• Stress about work or job performance
• Crisis in the workplace
• Conflict resolution at work or in one’s personal life
• Marital or relationship problems
• Child or elder care concerns
• Financial worries
• Mental health problems
• Alcohol/substance abuse
• Interpersonal conflicts
• AND MORE!
Have some questions about our services? Book a quick meeting below!
Workers Are Stressing Out Over Their Finances — And It's Costing Employers Billions,https://financialpost.com/fp-work/worker-financial-stress-employers-cost-billions
70% of Americans Are Feeling Financially Stressed, New CNBC Survey Finds, Stephanie Dhue & Sharon Epperson, CNBC
2019 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, PwC
Employees Are Stressed About Finances. How Employers Can Help, Kathryn Mayer
Navigating a new era of financial wellness, 2022 Workplace Benefits Report, Bank of America, https://business.bofa.com/content/dam/flagship/workplace-benefits/id20_0901/documents/2022-WBR.pdf
Speaking of Psychology: The Stress of Money, Linda Gallo, PhD, American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/news/podcasts/speaking-of-psychology/financial-stress
Survey: The Average American Feels They’d Need Over $200K a Year to Be Financially Comfortable, Sarah Foster, BankRate https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/financial-freedom-survey/
With Inflation, Even Workers Earning Six Figures Feel the Sting, Kathryn Mayer, Society for Human Resources Management, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/compensation/pages/high-income-employees-high-financial-stress-inflation.aspx