Every employer has a duty to look after their staff, and this not only extends to their physical wellbeing, but also their mental health. One key challenge for organisations is how to identify when staff may be struggling, as their stresses can span a wide range of personal issues that each need to be addressed and treated in different ways.
A major source of worry for many people is often their finances; Citizens Advice can deal with over 2,000 new debt cases daily1, while consumer credit debt continues to rise in the UK as purchases are increasingly made on credit cards2.
Source of concern
A study carried out by MoneySupermarket.com shows that finances are the biggest daily worry for 18.5 million people in the UK. This has risen significantly from 15.6 million just a year ago, with the impact of this not only affecting people’s relationships and other aspects of personal lives, but their work lives too.3
For 22 per cent of people, their current financial situation is causing them the most stress in their lives, while 14 per cent say their future finances are their main concern, leading to almost constant worry.3
This may result in the person worrying about things when they should be working, and it can also have an effect on their colleagues, which not only exacerbates the problem for the employee, but also causes an issue for the employer.
For companies, it is important that all staff are working at their optimum pace to help maximise productivity, while a happy working environment where all staff co-exist can also help to significantly improve loyalty.
A study carried out by Warwick University shows that staff who are happy in the workplace and get on well with colleagues are far more likely to remain with a company, be more productive and recommend it to others.4
Therefore it is important that employers try to nip any issues in the bud and also have a support network in place to help staff with any issues they may encounter in their professional or personal lives, including debt.
Resources and support
Being able to point employees in the right direction when they are in difficulty is one way that employers can help to support them, and this can happen whether or not a problem has even been identified.
For example, it could be something as simple as making staff aware of some of the ways in which they can get help by placing contact details on pay slips, notice boards and the company intranet. This can boost awareness, as well as help provide peace of mind.
Citizens Advice has a wealth of resources aimed at helping people to get out of debt, and for employees it can be reassuring to know that help is at hand if they need it, and that they are not alone in their struggle.
Citizens Advice, Step Change and other organisations also offer a range of advice and material that employers can use to spread the word about debt in the workplace and take a proactive approach to managing the problem.
Giving staff access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a great way to help those who are not only struggling with their finances, but their overall mental wellbeing. An EAP provides a range of services, including a 24 hour telephone helpline, online support and face to face counselling. Some of the many life events an EAP can assist people with include managing finances, personal and family crises and buying a new home.
Availability of EAP’s to staff not only help employers to meet duty of care obligations, but it also provides a genuine means of receiving comfort and support in their time of need that results in a tangible outcome.
Sovereign Health Care’s employer paid Asset cash plan, which allows employees to claim tax free money back on a range of every day health expenses – such as dental, optical and physiotherapy costs – includes a comprehensive EAP and personal accident cover as standard. From just £6.20 per employee per month, it is a cost effective benefit to give to staff.
Every employer knows that the wellbeing and performance of staff is key to their success as an organisation, and safeguarding this can help to reap dividends by contributing to a happy, healthy workplace.
To find out more about Sovereign Health Care and its range of corporate cash plans, click
1 Citizens Advice https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/media/press-releases/2-000-people-a-day-to-seek-debt-help-from-cab/
2 CreditCards.com http://uk.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/uk-britain-credit-debit-card-statistics-international.php
3 MoneySupermarket.com http://www.moneysupermarket.com/c/news/why-more-of-us-are-worrying-about-money/00234329/
4 Warwick University