Financial Wellbeing

You may not be able to pay your employees more, but you can at least help them feel better about what they have and what they do with it.

A recent article about individual financial health in the United States revealed that most people know relatively little about how to manage their money, and they are feeling stressed as a result. As you go around Asia — even with different banking, savings, and retirement planning mentalities in each country — you will probably find similar results. Whether their knowledge is due to not putting the time into figuring it out, or simply not being able to get the information and help they want, the end result is the same: people who are more stressed out than they need to be. That stress, like any other distraction, affects the work they do for you, so yeah, this is an issue you may want to look at.

This can affect people at all levels. Your fresh grads may be earning a paycheck for the first time, and also be taking care of themselves for the first time, and that’s a lot of new stuff at once. More senior employees may be raising families and wondering how to save for the future while taking care of today’s needs. Your older employees may be starting to think very seriously about retirement. Everyone can have these concerns.

What can you do? First, look at your wellness program (you DO have a wellness program, right?) and make sure you address mental health in there, not just the physical stuff. Then consider how you can include financial literacy as part of that program, as a way to reduce the concerns people have about their money and thus lower their stress levels so they can put their attention toward other things. The article linked above has some suggestions, like offering financial assessments, providing info on free financial resources, pointing them toward tools to help them with budgeting, or even providing financial coaching. Beyond that, you might consider bringing in a lunchtime speaker to talk about finances, or organize a “financial literacy club” (you can probably find a better name) where people can come together and share ideas.

You may think that once you give them a paycheck, your interest in employees’ financial wellbeing has been satisfied. Remember, though, that anything that distracts people from work is going to create a cost for you. Consider how you can get people past the stress of personal finances, and see what kind of impact that has on both them and on your business.

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