With the winter holidays over, it may seem like a time to slow down and destress. But for those affected by financial concerns, financial fatigue is a year-round burden. With inflation driving the cost of living ever-higher, financial stress impacts more people than ever. That stress has a domino effect that can ripple through all areas of an individual’s life — including their mental health and productivity.
Financial stress affects almost everyone
A March 2022 survey showed that 97% of all full-time workers in the U.S. experience financial stress in some way (Source: fastcompany.com). This financial stress contributes to a lack of energy, loss of focus, reduced creativity and can even have negative effects on personality (Source: business.com). When combined, these symptoms can also have a dramatic impact on a business’s bottom line. An employee with financial worries may spend an average of 156 hours, or 19.5 days distracted from work (Source: Graystone Consulting from Morgan Stanley). Those hours can really add up, and are estimated to cost U.S. employers over $4 billion in lost productivity (Source: HR Morning).
As a leading source of debt, student loans are a particularly menacing culprit of financial stress. As of September 2022, U.S. student loan borrowers owed more than $1.7 trillion in student loans — eclipsing auto loans and credit card debt and coming in second only to mortgage debt (Source: Council on Foreign Relations).
In addition to productivity losses, financial stress also contributes to employees seeking jobs elsewhere to find relief. Job seekers value organizations that provide financial wellness assistance, whether it’s through monetary support or tools and resources designed to help with their finances (Source: HR Morning).
Make a financial fitness resolution
Many people make fitness resolutions in January, but as an employer with the potential to make a real difference in the health and wellness of your employees, now is the time to consider adding financial wellness support including student loan repayment support to your benefits package. In addition to making a life changing impact in the lives of your employees, you’ll see an increase in retention and talent attraction, as well as a reduction in costs associated with turnover and recruiting.
Step up your listening skills. Employees want employers to listen to their needs, understand what keeps them up at night and provide creative solutions to help improve work-life balance. Understanding these desires and following through with actions shows which employers really care. Organizations that provide highly sought benefits will inevitably be more competitive when seeking or retaining top talent in a tight labor market.
Get smart about stress. Make sure your employees can recognize signs of stress before it becomes a problem. Encourage them to practice resetting, the process for assessing what’s working and what’s not and determining the right changes to make. Resetting includes self-reflection, evaluating priorities, assessing habits and wellness, and then using that info to create a plan to move forward in better health.
Find support. Staying up to date on employee trends and financial wellness support options is an important part of reducing financial stress. Connect with professional associations, blogs or podcasts that cover financial topics and newsletters from companies with a foot in financial health. You can also seek advice from seasoned professionals – check out our By-Request Training offerings for some ideas of what to look for.