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10 telltale signs of financial instability in employees (and effective ways to help!)

With the cost of living increasing, job security becoming uncertain, student loan repayments back, etc. your employees may be financially stressed, and rightfully so! 

Financial stress takes a toll on an individual's personal life and can directly impact their work performance, engagement, and overall satisfaction. 

As a leader, it's important to be aware of the signs of financial distress among your staff so that you can provide the necessary support. 

Let’s dive into the 10 signs to look out for: 

  1.  Increased requests for pay advances: When employees frequently ask for salary advances, it might signal financial struggles.
  2.  More loans from retirement accounts: Employees tapping into retirement funds for immediate expenses is a red flag.
  3. Elevated levels of absenteeism: Financial worries can translate into physical and mental health issues, leading to more absences.
  4. . Reluctance to participate in optional benefits: A lack of engagement in beneficial programs might indicate financial tightness.
  5.  Increased health care claims: Stress-related health issues often result in more medical claims.
  6.  Difficulty with transportation: Struggles with maintaining or affording transportation can be a sign.
  7. Unusual spending patterns: Be aware of any erratic or unusual spending habits observed through expense accounts.
  8. Requests for 401(k) hardship withdrawals: This is a direct indicator of financial distress.
  9. Changes in work performance: Financial stress can lead to a noticeable decline in productivity and focus.
  10. Shifts in mood or behavior: Observe changes in behavior; stress often manifests in subtle yet significant ways.

How you can help

As leaders, acknowledging these signs is the first step. However, just because you’re seeing these things doesn’t necessarily mean your employees are struggling financially, but they should be signals to keep your eyes open and possibly have a conversation with the employee to check in.

But besides that, it's important to have your employees' back while they navigate these changes, by implementing these strategies: 

Open communication: Create an environment where financial struggles can be discussed without stigma.

  • Leadership: Encourage leaders and managers to openly discuss financial wellness, setting a precedent that it's a safe and important topic.
  • Awareness campaigns: Regularly conduct seminars, workshops, or informational sessions highlighting the importance of financial health and the company's commitment to supporting it.
  • Feedback channels: Establish anonymous feedback mechanisms where employees can express their concerns or needs regarding financial issues.
  • Success stories:¬† Share anonymous success stories of employees who have overcome financial challenges with the help of company resources to inspire and encourage others.

 Financial wellness programs: Implement programs to educate and assist employees in managing their finances.

  • Educational workshops: Offer workshops or webinars on topics like budgeting, debt management, retirement planning, and investment strategies.
  • Partnerships with experts: Collaborate with financial advisors or institutions to provide expert guidance and resources to employees.
  • Online resources:¬† Develop a portal with tools and resources for financial education, including calculators, articles, and tutorials.
  • Continuous learning: Regularly update and add to the programs to ensure they stay relevant and useful.

 Flexible Benefits: Tailor benefits to meet the diverse financial needs of your staff.

  • ¬†Customizable packages: Allow employees to choose from a variety of benefits that best suit their individual financial situations, such as childcare support, transportation allowances, or health savings accounts.
  • Regular assessments:¬† Conduct surveys or one-on-one meetings to understand the evolving financial needs of your workforce.
  • Diverse offerings: Ensure that the range of benefits caters to different age groups, family structures, and financial goals.

Personalized support: Offer one-on-one financial counseling for those who need it. 

  • Access to financial coaches: Provide access to professional financial counselors who can offer personalized advice.
  • Confidential sessions: Ensure these counseling sessions are confidential to encourage participation.
  • Integration with wellness programs: Make financial counseling a part of the broader employee wellness program, emphasizing its importance for overall well-being.

Encourage saving: Promote saving habits and provide tools for financial planning.

  • ¬†Savings plans: Introduce or enhance employee savings plans like 401(k) with matching contributions to encourage long-term saving.
  • Financial planning tools: Offer access to financial planning software or tools that help employees set and track financial goals.
  • ¬†Incentives for saving:¬† Create programs that reward or recognize employees who reach certain savings milestones or participate in financial wellness activities.
  • Regular communication: Use newsletters, emails, and meetings to share tips on saving and highlight the benefits of financial prudence.

Keep in mind that when your employees are financially stable, they tend to be more productive and engaged. By spotting the warning signs of financial troubles and offering the right assistance, you can help your overall well-being outside of work and contribute to a healthier and better workplace culture.

Let's work together to build a financially sound and thriving workplace. Watch a demo today!