There is no getting away from it, times are tough. Economies across the world face some of the biggest challenges ever faced and its creeping its way into most people's lives. If you want to read a good article on the global economy challenges, check out the Financial Times Article.
There has been lots of talk about workplaces supporting employee's with financial health. Some very large organisations are in a better place to put in place systems of support for employees but sometimes its not enough, or the business doesn't have the means to provide this support.
This article is written to help employers recognise some of the financial struggles employees might be suffering, but also to support employees on how they might be able to help themselves or seek support from their employer, no matter how small.
How can I identify an employee who is struggling financially? It's easier written than done but there can be subtle clues that you can look out for. These might be recognised as small changes in employee behaviours. Stress, worry, struggling to pay bills, travel, food, energy, childcare, other personal services all contribute to changes in behaviour. For example the list below are just a selection of behaviours to look out for that could indicate financial difficulties: - increased absence
- pushing for wage increase
- taking calls and emails/responses to sale of goods during the workday
- stopping pension contributions
- lower productivity
- presenteeism (working whilst sick)
- lower-quality work
- increased unwellness/sickness/illness
- changes in mood
- more distraction or less focus and attention to detail
- increased overtime working
- accidents and injury
- delayed retirement plans
- delayed or not taking vacations/holiday
- not resting during holiday, working another type of job, like Uber
Sometimes, employees do silly things too, like falsifying expenses, theft from the workplace, misusing equipment and machines for personal gain, injury and occupational health injury. These are very few and far between but financial struggles can lead to extreme ill thought through behaviours and poor judgements.
So to keep employees on the straight and narrow both employers and employees can consider the following:
- can employees save £ by changing their working hours/is this possible for the business?
- can employees and the business save money using salary sacrifice schemes?
- can you help employees access support/resources/can the business access these?
- can you provide short term loans, advance of wages?
- can you improve return of expense payments sooner?
- can you provide communal transport solutions?
- can you help employees with cost of living expenses, by increases to wages?
Conversations and helpful resources
Financial difficulties can lead to poor physical and mental health.
Normalising conversations about money in the workplace may encourage employees to feel more comfortable about raising their concerns. Leadership can play a great part in this, no matter how small the business. Perhaps it could be added to team meetings, or included in company communications and training resources.
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