An employer's guide to improving employees' financial wellness
According to a survey1 conducted among HR professionals, financial issues are regarded as one of the top three sources of stress among Hong Kong employees. In an IEC survey2, it is also revealed that more than 60% of employees experienced different levels of financial stress. Employees' financial stress can be caused by many issues from failing to meet financial obligations such as settling bills or settle credit card payment on time to those bad debt problems due to over consumption, gambling or unexpected life events.
How does financial stress impact on an employee's performance at work?
Employees with financial stress are more likely to be distracted at work, take sick leave and be absent from work. In the above IEC Survey, it was found that one in every four employees in Hong Kong reported that financial stress affects their work in terms of reduced ability to concentrate, making more mistakes, absenteeism and lower productivity.
In more extreme cases, financial stress may lead to injury, bribery, theft and inability to practise in certain professions in case of bankruptcy, etc. Other employees may also be affected by disruption from debt collectors. The consequences of poor handling of employees' financial stress could be serious to both the employee and the company.
Why is it necessary for me as an employer to improve employees' financial wellness?
Financial stress can lead to lower employee productivity and poorer psychological wellness. As an employer, you have a distinctive role to enhance the financial wellness of your employees. The benefits of promoting financial wellness in the workplace include:
- Improving employees' productivity
- Enhancing organisational commitment
- Enhancing employees' morale and loyalty
- Improving corporate image
"I see the benefits of improving my employees' financial health. However, I don't have much budget nor time to do so. How do I get started?"
When talking about financial wellness in the workplace, the above is one of the most frequent concerns of many employers. While large corporations may have more resources to offer a more comprehensive wellness programme to their employees, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can also take part in enhancing the financial wellness of their employees.
Regardless of the size of your company, this guide provides you with some simple steps on how to start supporting your employees' financial wellness. Enhancing the financial wellness of your employees can be a long journey, but the key is to start taking the initial steps early.
1Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (2017). Dissecting Stress in the Hong Kong Workplace. Retrieved from http://www.hkihrm.org/HKIHRM_HRSP_Directory_2017.pdf
2Investor Education Centre (2015). IEC Segment Research.