16th January 2018

Employers told to look after their staff’s financial wellbeing

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Employees’ financial wellbeing should be a core part of their employers’ strategy to help reduce stress levels, research has shown.

A report by risk management company Willis Towers Watson showed that 69 per cent of global employers recognise that they should be actively involved in helping staff manage their personal finances.

More than half (56 per cent) of firms claimed to have made plans to implement a financial wellbeing programme for their staff within the next three years.

The 2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey found that employees who were troubled by their financial situation were twice as likely to be in poor health as those who were not, which could result in higher stress levels, increased absence and low work engagement.

More than a third (35 per cent) of survey respondents in the UK claimed that they lived from payday to payday, with 41 per cent suggesting that they would be unable to pay an unexpected bill of £1,600.

Richard Sweetman, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson, said: “After the relative optimism of 2015, UK workers are experiencing a marked decline in financial confidence as we enter 2018. Rising indebtedness, low growth in wages, and global political uncertainty are likely to be contributing to this trend.

“Employees are looking for help, and there is an increasing willingness on the part of employers to offer meaningful support with the financial wellbeing of their staff.”

Willis Towers Watson noted only about half of the 31,000 employees surveyed said they participated in their employer’s health and wellbeing programmes if there was one available, with many sceptical about schemes based on their own personal details.

It said that employers needed to learn what support their employees would benefit from, which may depend on their age and employers would need to “build rapport with their employees, being careful not to overstep or push too fast”, in order to help staff achieve their targets.