Let’s stop beating around the bush – Australians have a problem. We’re scared to talk about money. As something that has such an enormous impact on our daily lives, you think we’d be a little more open to the idea of discussing our financial situation. Turns out, this isn’t the case. But there are steps employers can take to change this (and increase workplace culture by doing so).
We’re worried about money.
In 2017, only 6 in 10 Australians felt confident about managing their money. Common financial concerns reported by Australians revealed that 46% of females and 26% of males felt that “dealing with money is stressful and overwhelming”.
1 in 4 state that nothing they do will make a significant difference to their financial situation. This belief can lead to a sense of helplessness and decrease overall wellbeing, resulting in poor workplace performance. Other concerns held by Australian workers is that they struggle to understand financial matters (21%) and that they’re too busy to sort out their finances (15%).
A 2015 report found that employees who suffer from financial stress are less satisfied with their lives, less engaged with their job and ultimately more likely to underperform at work. The result of this is sickness, absenteeism and low productivity, costing Australian businesses $33 million per annum.
It’s not all bad news though – money concerns amongst employees is something that can easily be alleviated by eliminating the negative stigma that surrounds discussing financial matters in your workplace.
Removing the taboo through conversation.
It might sound odd, but there’s quite a few reasons why something as simple as talking about money can vastly improve workplace culture (and as a result, your company’s bottom line).
A recent study found that the more people talk about money, the more motivated they are to learn about it and improve their financial situation. Those who discuss money frequently showed the most willingness to change their financial mindset and improve their financial wellbeing.
Right now, you’re probably wondering why we can’t just talk about money at home to solve the issue. After all, why should it be a workplace matter? The problem here is that we spend around eight hours a day in the workplace. By the time we get home, we’re usually too exhausted to talk about our financial issues, instead choosing to use our nights to wind down and relax. As we spend most of our days at work, it’s unsurprising that we’re bringing our financial concerns into the workplace. Despite the proven benefits of talking through and sharing a problem, only 3% of us talk to our work colleagues about our finances. In fact, over a quarter of us find talking about money in any situation difficult for fear of judgement and embarrassment.
The solution to this is surprisingly simple. Address the workplace taboo surrounding money by making financial services or classes available to your employees that will improve their financial literacy.
How to start the discussion.
Want to increase your employees’ financial literacy and wellbeing but don’t know how to start the conversation in your office? Read on.
Australians aren’t the type of people who will openly admit that they’re struggling, especially if they’re under the belief that doing so could jeopardise their job. Financial problems are extremely personal matters, so they must be addressed carefully.
If you have identified an employee who you believe might be struggling financially, suggesting one-on-one help or counselling can result in them feeling as if they are being isolated or punished. Often, a person who is financially unwell doesn’t even realise that they have a problem until a financial emergency occurs!
This means that before becoming ready to accept help, a person must first identify that they have a problem as well as being open to the idea of receiving support to solve it.
Financial Wellness Programs are an effective way to do this. Rather than point out specific individuals who might be struggling, these programs are optional and open to all, making them the perfect starting point to discussing money with your employees.
A good Financial Wellness Program will not only help your employees understand and identify whether they are on track financially – it will educate them on how to make good financial habits for the future. Designed to relieve financial stress and create a happier workforce, these programs are tailored to remain relevant to your employees needs and life stages. This means that they treat both the immediate symptoms and the cause of the problem.
Financial Wellness Programs teach attendees about cashflow and investments, helping them reduce their debt and manage their finances, which decreases their level of financial stress from day one. They then show employees how to plan for long-term goals, such as saving for a holiday, having enough money to enjoy retirement and managing mortgage repayments. By the end of the program, your employees will have greatly increased their financial literacy and be well on their way to financial wellbeing.
Happier employees means a better workplace culture.
Surveys have shown that employees value workplace wellbeing over material benefits and there’s no denying that happy employees make for a better workplace culture. Financial wellbeing is something which affects everyone and links to all other aspects of our lives. It affects our mental wellbeing, physical health and even our relationships with others.
So, what better way to improve your company’s culture than to turn your business into a place where struggling with financial burdens is a thing of the past?
Take some time to think about the culture in your workplace. Does it actively encourage employees to discuss their financial concerns and provide access to financial education services? If you were stressed financially, would you be willing to ask your workplace for help and guidance? If the answer is no, consider investing in your employees’ financial wellbeing by hosting a Financial Wellness Program.
If you’re interested in booking a Financial Wellness Program, please feel free to contact us on here or by calling 1300 388 285.