Toolkit published to assist employees struggling with their finances

Business in the Community (BITC) has published guidance for organisations, encouraging them to provide more support to employees in financial difficulty.

This new toolkit follows research from BITC that was conducted as part of its 2019 Mental Health at Work report, which highlighted that only 5 per cent of employees believed they would receive financial support within the workplace. Additional research carried out by Salary Finance, who supported BITC in producing the kit, has showed that employees who are concerned over their financial situation are 50 per cent more likely to be looking for another job.

Speaking on these figures, Nicola Inge, employment campaign director for BITC, calls for organisations to ‘take a different approach to employee benefits packages to make sure they are meeting the needs of their workforce and getting the most value from the benefits they offer’. Amongst other things, the toolkit recommends the following actions that organisations should take:

  • ascertain knowledge of the needs of the lower earners
  • engage management and senior leaders to ‘understand the lived experiences of people who may be struggling’
  • promote a culture change within the organisation so employees are more comfortable talking about money.

Whilst following this toolkit is optional for organisations, and there is currently no legal requirement for them to take any further action to assist employees in this situation, this research does send a clear message of the potentially damaging impact that this can have. Those who are under significant financial strain are more likely to be less productive at work, with Salary Finance research showing that this can result in as much as 13 per cent of total salary costs. Dhiren Master, global insights director at Salary Finance, outlines that people in financial difficulty ‘need practical support to enable them to get out of the situation they are in’. He goes on to state that organisations ‘that put wellbeing at the heart of their business objectives… will see a happier, healthier and more productive workforce’.

In response, organisations could consider if there are areas they can explore in order to assist employees with their finances. Options to consider include making arrangements with local business for staff discounts, having a clear expenses policy in place or providing bonuses to employees who recommend potential candidates to roles that are successful and remain in them for a certain period of time. In addition, the organisation may also consider making use of an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which could provide further counselling and support to employees who are struggling financially.

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