Hard up employees – the impact on your bottom line


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?

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2 Responses to Hard up employees – the impact on your bottom line

  1. Sally Bibb 13 November 2008 at 9:48 pm #

    This is a real issue for companies. I think organisations would do well to actively help people to handle any sources of stress in their lives. Stress is such an all pervasive issue and of course impacts on how people perform. The question I would ask is “why wouldn’t they help?” Many stress management courses that companies offer are great but often come too late ie after the person has become stressed. A better approach is to increase stress resilience. I spend a lot of my time working with people on a one-to-one basis and in groups to help them develop stress-resilience. It is surprisingly simple and works!

  2. David Wright 18 November 2008 at 2:55 pm #

    There is evidence to support the fact that the credit crunch is having a significant impact on employee wellbeing. Recent statistics from Atos Healthcare show that the number of clients that registered for its employee assistance programme during July, August and September 2008 has increased by 17% in comparison to the same period for 2007.

    Support from such programmes is preferable to medical intervention. Such employees are not ill, rather they need help and support to cope with their financial problems. Medicalising the issue does not help, indeed taking time off work with a sick note is likely to reduce earning capacity rather than enhance it. Practical support rather than medication is more likely to result in a positive outcome.