According to insurance giant AXA, 71% of UK HR directors believe that stress as a result of financial worries is more prevalent among employees than a year ago. And in 23% of the firms recently surveyed by AXA, HR professionals claim that over half of their staff are showing signs of stress as a result of their money worries.
Yet while companies seem to be aware of the impact of the poor economy on their staff, they seem to be doing little to help them. AXA says that a quarter of UK businesses have no formal process for identifying employees with financial problems. Nor do they have mechanisms in place within their employee management and benefits systems for responding to their staff’s concerns. And a further 41% of organisations have said that they would wait until an employee asks for assistance before they would offer advice or support.
As Dudley Lusted, AXA’s head of corporate healthcare and wellbeing, says, “By not tackling money issues or even taking the simple step of establishing their monthly incomings and outgoings, employees with financial problems are behaving like financial ostriches”. So the personal implications of financial negligence are clear – but what of those organisations ignoring their employees’ plight? How will this impact on their bottom line? Stressed employees invariably lead to a fall in production. Retention will suffer, too, as staff struggle to deal with demotivated colleagues who are grappling with financial problems.
To what lengths should organisations be going to ensure that their employees are financially stable? Or is it simply a case of telling them not to bring their personal problems to work?