Let’s talk about financial stress in the workplace

woman financially stressed

January 14, 2020

Happy New Year! Our focus this month is on promoting mental health awareness, in tandem with the Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign. We have discussed in this blog how money worries are the biggest source of stress for Canadians. Financial concerns have surpassed health, work and family obligations as the number one preoccupation of Canadian adults. And this preoccupation is affecting the physical and mental well-being of employees in the workplace. When employees bring financial stress to work, it can lower productivity and negatively affect an organization’s bottom line.

To mark the new year, we want to focus on the good news: that employers are in a unique position to offset financial stress among their employees by implementing a financial wellness program in their workplace.  And there’s more good news: employers don’t need to start from scratch.

At the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, we have developed an online resource, Financial wellness in the workplace, which is a free, unbiased tool designed specifically for employers. It offers strategies and resources based on best practices to help them build their own financial wellness program -- one that’s tailored to the specific needs of their employees and the nature of their organization or business. Here’s some more detail about what you’ll find:

Strategies to get senior management buy-in

Financial wellness in the workplace includes strategies to help convince senior management of the importance of financial well-being for their employees, and become champions of a financial wellness program. Recent surveys show a majority of employees would like to receive financial education from their employer. This resource will help make the case as to why.

Information to build, deliver and evaluate the program

Our resource also helps employers plan their strategy, by assessing the needs of their employees and organization, identifying internal challenges, and looping in external research.  It will then help them build a program based on those identified needs, select the right content and include relevant life events. 

They will also find information on how to sell the program to employees, how to make it fun through rewards and games, and how to focus on behavioural changes. Employers will learn which delivery methods and channels to consider, when best to deliver the program, and other considerations.

Finally, there is key advice on how to evaluate the program to ensure that their organization’s goals are being reached.

Free resources that employers can use right now

Our online resource offers engaging resources to help employers get started, including workshops, an employee needs survey template, videos, interactive quizzes, tools and calculators.

Everybody wins with financial wellness

It’s important to connect the dots between mental health and financial stress. Unchecked, financial stress can spill over into the workplace, with negative effects for employees and the organization. By engaging employees with financial wellness programs and helping them improve their financial knowledge, skills and confidence, employers can score a win-win. Such programs will reduce the negative impact of financial stress on employees, and make the organization healthier and more productive. 

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