Financial problems at work are a “hidden epidemic” with serious risks for employers from lost productivity and relationships with customers, it has been warned.
MetLife’s Rethinking Employee Financial Wellbeing Symposium heard more than half (55%) of employees with financial problems admitted they achieve less at work than they would like to.
Nearly two out of three (66%) of those with financial worries show signs of poor mental health.
MetLife’s own data shows nearly two out of five (39%) employees live from payday to payday and 60% are concerned about job security.
Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director for MetLife UK, said employers are uniquely positioned to help but providing financial education on its own is not sufficient, especially for people under stress or suffering poor mental health.
“The sheep dip approach where everyone gets a 15- or 20-minute talk needs to be a thing of the past,” he argued.
Actions to help promote financial wellness can be relatively low-tech and do not involve major investment, the symposium heard. Changing financial behaviour can be as simple as amending communications and forms as well as adapting scripts for call centres.
Employer concerns that addressing financial wellness is going to be expensive and time-consuming need to be addressed as the worry about cost is wrong, the symposium was told.
Experts advised that the key issue is to have the conversations about financial worries and increase engagement with staff about benefits and how employers can help.