The financial wellbeing of employees should be an area of focus for organisations after the Covid pandemic, as research reveals how money worries have resulted in anxiety, stress and depression for staff.
With this in mind, businesses should be looking at the staff benefits they are offering and see if they really are supporting their employees’ best interests.
Financial wellbeing will be the next big challenge for employers when it comes to their employees after Covid. That’s one of the main findings from recent research by Scottish Widows.
[Related reading: Workplace Wellbeing: What Employers Think vs. What Employees Want]
According to the survey of over 500 HR leaders from UK firms, 65% said the financial wellbeing of employees was their next big challenge following the pandemic.
Financial worry during the coronavirus outbreak has led to employees experiencing stress and anxiety, with 40% of employers saying their employees’ productivity levels have been negatively impacted by financial challenges.
On a positive note, a significant proportion (65%) of HR leaders said employees are increasingly taking action to address these issues, discussing their mental health concerns with employers.
Just over half (52%) of employees now also look to their employer for support on matters such as personal debt, the costs of working from home and how to best save for retirement.
The research also shows that employers are increasing pensions to help workers achieve long-term financial security. Indeed, over a third (36%) of firms are increasing employer contributions, while a further 34% plan to do so within the next two years.
However, there is still some room for improvement when it comes to organisations referring their employees to IFAs for financial advice. Currently, only 29% said they do this. Over half of the HR decision makers surveyed agreed that their companies must do more to ensure the financial wellbeing of staff.
Separate research highlights why the financial wellbeing of staff should definitely be a focus for employers.
According to a recent Barnett Waddingham survey of 2,001 employees about the future of work and employee wellbeing in the UK, three-fifths (60%) said they have had financial concerns that resulted in anxiety, stress and depression.
Furthermore, the research found that millennials aged 25-34 are the generation most likely to see their mental health suffer due to monetary worries, with 21% of this group stating this.
The research also revealed the impact of Covid on employees. Two-fifths of respondents (39%) said that their mental health declined as a result of their wellbeing not being supported during the pandemic. Just under a third (30%) said they searched for a new job, while a quarter (25%) were less productive at work.
Meanwhile, furlough and the associated reduction in monthly salary also had a negative impact on many employees’ financial wellbeing. Indeed, 70% of furloughed employees saying they had money worries that impacted their mental health, compared to 55% of non-furloughed staff.
[Related reading: Research Finds 10 Million UK Adults Not Financially Resilient]
The fact that financial worries can cause employees to feel stress and anxiety should act as a wake-up call for employers. Organisations that are not supporting their employees’ financial wellbeing with the right staff benefits are risking the health of their most important assets: their people.