Debt is a growing problem, and while we all try to keep our personal and work lives separate, there’s no denying personal stress can weigh heavily on our productivity at work. One in five employees admit that financial worries can be a distraction at work, with almost half admitting to using work hours to deal with personal finances.
Fortunately, businesses are responding. By following advice from professionals like Sage, companies can restore morale and productivity to their workforce by fostering a caring attitude and providing reliable advice.
Reassuring employees is key
A key reason employees refuse to speak up about their financial trouble is because they aren’t aware that their employer cares to help them. A business that openly values its employees can foster a supportive environment by offering a welfare programme that is confidential and readily available. One of the best ways to encourage a caring culture, besides including it in the business values, is to make new employees aware of welfare programmes at their induction.
Educating means empowerment
The primary cause of debt is financial mismanagement, and is something that better education can help to avert. For starters, it is not uncommon that those with the worse debt are in such a position because they don’t know how they got there to begin with. Credit reports, many of which can be free the first time they are requested, are a great way to visually understand where someone can improve. Equally, loan shark companies, while initially tempting to relieve immediate debt, often worsen an employee’s situation with outrageously high interest rates. Even debt consolidation, so often presented as the easy path to better financial management, can offer false reassurances that the problem is under control, leading people to repeat old mistakes.
Consulting the experts
Welfare programmes and education will go a long way in helping your employees to feel valued and protected by the company they work for, but some financial issues can be too complicated or in-depth for basic advice. Hiring a debt counsellor or financial expert can help tackle this issue by providing your employees with free and impartial advice when they need it. Whether the counsellor is available all year round via HR, or just comes along occasionally to offer classes and one-to-one sessions, your employees will instantly gain benefit and relief knowing someone can help them.
Of course, not every business can afford to hire exclusive financial counsel, but it is worth noting that there are plenty of cheap and free courses available to businesses wishing to aid and reassure their employees.
It can be tempting to help employees out by offering to pay off their debts, particularly in smaller businesses where personnel can be very close. Unfortunately, this not only risks employees feeling beholden to you, but does nothing to empower them to help themselves. Far better is to provide the tools they need to better manage their own lives, and in the process, develop a growing sense of enthusiasm for their workplace.