- In a paper released by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), statistics show that 85% of Americans are anxious about their financial situation, and that their anxiety interferes with work. According to CFSI, financial stress leads to productivity losses and increases absenteeism, healthcare claims, turnover and costs affecting workers who can't afford to retire.
- CFSI found that one-in-three employees say personal finances are a distraction at work. And employees with very high financial anxiety are twice as likely to take sick time off when they're not ill.
- Employers should address workers' financial anxiety through wellness programs and other initiatives, which provide financial education and access to different types of affordable products that offer help with spending, saving, borrowing and budget planning, CFSI says.
CFSI says that employers are well-positioned to help workers achieve financial well-being. A study by Shortlister, an HR technology sourcing firm, showed that employers already are taking that step by shifting the focus of its employee wellness programs from physical health to a more holistic well-being approach. Financial wellness is part of the holistic approach and includes educating workers in retirement savings and money management.
Other studies have shown that financial problems often cause undue stress and anxiety for workers. A Humana study, 2017 Humana Wellness Trends Report, cites financial worries as the top stressor for employees.
Employers know the high costs of anxiety brought on by financial problems and are finding creative solutions to address the problem — a recent study by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health showed 84% of organizations polled are offering financial benefits to employees. With so many college graduates entering the workplace with massive student loan debt, some employers are offering debt-reduction plans among their benefits. Financial wellness benefits include everything from debt management and budgeting tools to mortgage assistance and estate planning.
With financial stress continuing to play a role as a top distraction for employees, there are serious benefits for employers that choose to proactively address this piece of employee wellness. Just as employers recognize the benefits of a holistic approach to employee well-being related to physical and emotional health, financial stress should be part of a comprehensive program for employees. An unstressed workforce is likely to be more productive, more engaged and ultimately more loyal to the employer that recognizes there are factors outside the office that affect performance.