Poor financial wellbeing is affecting productivity - but employees are reluctant to discuss it, finds Stuart Stone


According to a survey by Close Brothers and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), roughly half of UK workers would be uncomfortable turning to colleagues, managers, and their own HR department for financial advice.

The survey revealed that although poor financial wellbeing has an impact on workplace productivity very few staff members would feel comfortable discussing problems at work.

Charles Cotton, CIPD adviser on performance and reward said: “Overall, the findings highlight how delicate the situation is with regards to employee financial well-being.”

47% of respondents said they would be uncomfortable asking colleagues for advice on financial decision making, with the percentage rising to 54% and 58% for HR/payroll departments and managers respectively.

The report suggests that employees may be concerned that their financial situation would influence how they were perceived by workmates or managers.

However, it was noted this doesn’t mean employees are totally averse to financial guidance from their employer, only that efforts should be focused on taking steps to prevent money problems arising in the first place, for instance by providing financial seminars during working hours.

Jeanette Makings, Head of Financial Education at Close Brothers said: “Offering financial education is an important part of securing financial well-being. Employers who recognise this and who support staff with the many and complex financial choices they now face will benefit from financially more secure staff who make well-informed decisions and who, as a consequence, will be more engaged, happier, and more productive at work.”

Makings added: “Boosting employee financial well-being can boost business performance, which in turn can enable the business to invest more in their employees now and for the future.”

The report also found that 58% of employees would be comfortable seeking advice from a comparison website, with 56% comfortable speaking to family and friends. 

Additionally, despite 53% of respondents saying they would be comfortable speaking to a financial adviser about their money troubles, very few actually do so at present; with 14% using a financial adviser for savings issues, with less than one in ten using an adviser for spending and borrowing queries (5% and 8% respectively)

These findings demonstrate that employees may not be relying on the most appropriate sources of information when making their financial decisions, and that there’s scope for employers to take a lead in providing advice.

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