National Work Life Week – Supporting Employee Financial Wellbeing
10th – 14th October 2022 is National Work Life Week, focussing on increasing access to flexible working, and finding the flex in every role, which is more important than ever given the current cost-of-living crisis.
To support your employee’s happiness, it can be important to recognise all areas in an employee’s personal life and how they can impact on them, and their overall happiness level at work. One of these may be money. As such, in this blog, we explore how employers can offer support around the topic of personal finances for employees.
What to do as a manager
As a manager, when an employee approaches you about money worries, it is good to know what support you can direct them towards. If you have an Employee Assistance Provider (known as an EAP), then many of these will be able to provide information and guidance regarding financial matters.
Don’t have an EAP? The government’s Money and Pensions service (https://moneyandpensionsservice.org.uk, formerly known as the Money Advice Service) is an appropriate resource to direct people to. Whilst you cannot give financial advice yourself (unless you are regulated to do so), you can encourage employees to reach out to trusted sources. And as such you can suggest that they speak to the government service before agreeing to work with a private debt consolidation provider, who may seem to offer all the answers, but will charge a fee.
What about employees in debt?
If somebody is in debt and is reaching out for support for the first time, this can be an incredibly difficult conversation to have.
Some people may not have worked out the total amount they owe previously, and so setting this all out can take time and be hard to face.
Asking for help can be difficult too, and it is understandable that an employee in this situation is very unlikely to want their colleagues to know about it!
As such, if you are able to arrange for your employee to have some time away from their work to make the call in a private place in the workplace, or at home, then this is more likely to make the conversation more meaningful.
In the event an employee asks for an advance on their wages, there are a few things to check before agreeing this. The ViewHR team recommend that employers have a clause in their contracts enabling them to recover any debts from the employee, and that clear paperwork is put in place each time. You should also check if the employee owed any money already, as we do not want to create a situation where it is impossible for them to pay the money back. You should also ensure that this does not contradict any organisational policies and should be prepared to treat all employees fairly.
Financial worries can be a significant distraction, and may impact on an employee’s mental health, particularly if they are worried about bankruptcy or losing their home. As such, a non-judgemental and supportive approach can benefit both employee and employer.
Our friends at ViewHR are available to help if an employer has a query about how they can support their employees. You can reach out to them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a specific employee matter, or if you would like to explore proactive measures to ensure your employees are appropriately supported in the future.
Today’s Guest Blogger
Thank you to View HR’s Managing Director, Gemma Murphy’s blog, for sharing her insight into how to support employee financial wellbeing.
Help and support
If you need support, please reach out. Don’t suffer alone.
We can help with non-crisis interventions. Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your wellbeing. The group offers peer support and helps to reduce stigma by normalising conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here. You’ll find links for 1-2-1 and groups mental health support we offer here.
If you are struggling to cope with your mental health in general, please talk to your GP. If you’re in a crisis, treat it as an emergency. Call 999 immediately or The Samaritans, FREE on 116 123. NHS Dorset’s Helpline ‘Connection’ can be reached on 0800 652 0190. It’s also available 24/7.