We know you have workers that worry about debt, their financial future, lack of prospects and their status in the eyes of peers, friends and family. This can all take a toll on productivity, workplace relations and personal relationships. It can damage lives, destroy families and cause genuine hardship. Worrying about money is one of the major causes of mental health issues for employees in the UK.
The issue of Money and mental health is explored in recent MMHM Policy Institute report, The Money and Mental Health Manifesto. HR professionals might like to consider its implications, alongside their usual strategies and tasks in ensuring a happy and productive workforce.
The report suggests 10 steps, everything from changes in charging for a doctor’s note, helping people avoid spiralling debt and protecting those with money troubles from aggressive collection tactics. While the report is aimed at the political parties, any companies that have an interest in the financial, career and corporate implications of money worries and mental health could probably learn
Financial stress in the workplace
Any progressive business should be concerned about the financial welfare of workers beyond the pay cheque. While not responsible for sorting out a worker’s financial state, HR departments who are ready to identify a problem and point the worker in the direction of help and information from professionals will have more engaged employees. There is a wealth of help out there and a supportive policy in work along with offering the Employee Assistance Plan (if you have one), Citizen’s Advice, Stepchange and a supportive conversation from a manager can make a huge difference.
Procedures to identify vulnerable workers, or those suffering from financial worries, will benefit both the company and worker. By not penalising them, but offering help and support, workers are more likely to discuss and resolve their problems, rather than struggling on alone, or refusing to recognise that they are in trouble. Solutions such Salary Finance or Neyber which offer lower cost lending via the workplace may also we worth considering. As a financial education company, we are always happy to talk about what you can do that is low cost, effective and right for your workforce.
Such an approach will encourage staff loyalty, and help make the HR department seem more accessible for other or future issues. It should help to resolve any issues before they have a major impact on an office, department or for employees and their families. Understanding these issues will also help HR and the business be prepared for any changes in law should this report or similar projects sway government opinion.