Financial wellbeing needs to become part of wellbeing at work strategy

 Monica Kalia from Neyber highlights a recent report they have published which explains why employers should do more to support the financial needs of their staff.

The wellbeing at work agenda has gathered momentum among employers and policymakers since Dame Carol Black published her pioneering report, Working for a Healthier Tomorrow, in 2008.
Calling for a ‘new approach to health and work in Britain’, in which the promotion of good wellbeing is a fundamental component, the report concluded that the issues surrounding health at work are not just problems of medical practice but have far wider social and environmental causes. Just as poor wellbeing isn’t only caused by poor health, nor is medicine alone the only cure. Instead it’s one of a number of solutions possible to improve the wellbeing of staff.
We’ve learned a lot in the last eight years about wellbeing. We have a greater level of understanding of the business case for employers investing in supporting the wellbeing of their workforce. We have realised that poor wellbeing has many causes aside from poor health. We have seen clearer links between social, financial and environmental factors and health and wellbeing.
The CIPD’s research in this area (April 2016) found the top three causes of stress in workers’ lives are money worries (22%), the nature of their job, for example, pressure of working hours (22%), and family and relationship issues (20%).
At Neyber we have just released the findings from our groundbreaking new report, “The DNA of Financial Wellbeing”, which puts the financial wellbeing of the UK’s workforce under the microscope. The wide-ranging survey of 10,000 UK staff (including over 1,000 health and care services staff) has examined, for the first time, what the financial impact is on organisations whose workers are worried about their own personal finances.
We found that although financial stress is impacting workers across the UK, regardless of industry, region and age group, one of the sectors most badly affected is health and care services.
In an era where budgets are hard to balance, as much as 14% of payroll spend is being wasted due to lost productivity, absence and the stress-related illness that results from financial stress. All this adds up to a substantial cost for organisations to bear. We have calculated that the lost productivity and increased absence and employee turnover associated with financial stress costs UK organisations in the region of £120.7 billion every year.
We estimate that 68% of NHS staff are affected by financial stress, with a staggering 91% of those on a salary of £30,000–£39,000 admitting that they have been impacted in the past 12 months. The majority of workers (53%) said that being under financial pressure affects their ability to perform their job, rising to as much as 71% for 18-24 year olds.
Our findings also underlined the lack of a savings safety net should health workers face any unexpected financial outlays. For example, 36% of those in England have less than one month’s savings to sustain their lifestyle should their income cease.
There’s no doubt the figures are very worrying. But they also present a vital opportunity for us to begin to address individuals’ need for greater financial resilience and provide the support they need to achieve this. The good news is that the majority of health and care services workers (58%) would value their employer facilitating support to help them improve their financial situation, and in turn their health and productivity.
Organisations have many options available to them to assist staff in matters of personal finance. Now that we understand the scale of poor financial wellbeing and the knock-on effects of it in the workplace, it’s crucial that organisations stop and think about what they can do to help their staff who are concerned about money, and how they build this into their overall wellbeing strategy.
To access a report summarising the key findings from The DNA of Financial Wellbeing, including a spotlight on the health and care sector, click here.
Monica Kalia, Co-Founder, Neyber
Movement to Work, a collaboration of UK employers that aims to tackle youth unemployment
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