Employers are unsure how to support staff with financial wellbeing, despite being aware of its business impact, according to new research.
Aegon’s research found businesses lack both confidence and knowledge to deal with this issue, despite the fact that 4.2m days of work are lost each year due to poor financial wellbeing. This is estimated to cost employers £626m a year.
Although many employees feel financial pressures in January, only one in two employers said they would be able to provide information to staff on debt issues.
Meanwhile over a quarter of businesses (27 per cent) said they wouldn’t be able to provide information on pensions and saving for retirement. A further 38 per cent said they weren’t confident they could answer staff questions on general savings.
The research looked at why employers are not doing more. More than half of businesses surveyed (51 per cent) said the financial wellness of its business’ employees is not personally their business, with 45 per cent expressing concerns that if their business reached out to staff to provide them with financial advice, they would feel like they were intruding on their lives.
Aegon’s head of pensions Kate Smith says: “Our research is clear that poor financial wellbeing not only impacts individuals but is affecting the bottom line for many businesses.
“Our figures show the tangible impact of poor financial wellbeing on UK businesses with a staggering number of days taken off each year as workers struggle to deal with financial worries.
“It’s time that employers acknowledged the role that they play in supporting staff with their finances and there are some relatively simple steps they can take to increase financial wellbeing among their workforce.”
She says this would include providing basic financial information and education, which is categorically different to financial advice.
She adds: “More often than not, businesses will already offer a range of workplace benefits and simply communicating details of these can be a positive step in the right direction. This should include providing details of the company pension scheme in a clear and easy-to-understand way.”