Shining the spotlight on employee financial stress during Healthy Workplace Month

October 1, 2018

By Jane Rooney,Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader

It’s Healthy Workplace Month, which is a great time to talk about the biggest stressor affecting working Canadians: money.

In survey after survey, Canadians rank finances as their greatest source of stress, much higher than work, health, or family obligations. Money stress can have a negative impact on the health of working adults and, by extension, the health of the workplace they go to every day.

I’ve described in a previous post the work we at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) are doing, along with many of our stakeholders, to improve the financial well-being of working Canadians.

Today, I want to highlight why it is beneficial for employers to help their employees strengthen their knowledge, skills and confidence, so they can make informed financial decisions and achieve greater financial well-being.

Research shows that employees dealing with financial stress are twice as likely to report poor overall health and four times as likely to suffer from sleep problems, headaches and other illnesses.  Financial stress can also lead to more serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

These effects of financial stress accompany employees when they come to work which can impact not only their health but the health of the workplace. Some of the impacts in the workplace caused by employee financial stress can include:

  • Lower productivity
  • Absenteeism
  • Low morale
  • Increased turnover

The good news is that when employers invest in the financial well-being of their employees, the organization will see many benefits:

  • Higher productivity
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Ability to attract talent (brand reputation) and retain talent (lower turnover)
  • Employees retire when expected
  • Better use and appreciation of employee benefits and retirement savings
  • Improved morale
  • Increased profits or lower costs

More and more employers are investing in their employees’ financial well-being, helping them manage financial challenges, prevent future stress, and reach their financial goals. Employees are also looking to their employers for support. A recent survey found that 82% of employees would be interested if their employer offered general financial education programs in the workplace.

By implementing financial well-being in your workplace, you will be empowering your employees, as they will feel more in control of their money. In turn, you can have a more productive and engaged workforce, enhancing your bottom-line and fostering a healthy workplace. The benefits are clear; offering a financial well-being program in the workplace is a win-win and makes good business sense.

Not sure how to get started? FCAC has resources for employers to help their employees strengthen their financial literacy. Employers can also access our Canadian Financial Literacy Database to leverage existing educational programs, often free of charge, which are offered by professional associations or non-profit organizations.

There is much you can do to integrate financial literacy into your workplace, and the results will benefit everyone!

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