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July 3, 2019

Money matters: Why UK employers should prioritise employee financial wellbeing

Findings from Ceridian’s inaugural UK Pay Experience Report reveal that there’s room for employers to step up when it comes to their employees’ financial wellness.


Findings from a new Ceridian research report reveal that when it comes to pay, HR leaders have an opportunity to re-think their employee experience to better meet the needs of their people.


The inaugural UK Pay Experience Report explores how UK workers feel about their employers’ pay practices, and how those practices impact their lives at work and at home.


The report outlines findings from a survey conducted by Hanover Research of 1,000 workers in the UK, including part-time, full-time, and contract/freelance employees.


The research revealed that 42% of UK workers describe themselves as feeling moderately, very, or extremely stressed about pay and money issues on a regular basis. With workers carrying personal financial stress into the workplace, employers have an opportunity – and perhaps a responsibility – to respond by doing more around financial wellness. 


Here are more findings from the report, and what they could mean for employers.


Workers are stressed – and it’s bad for business

The report notes that an employee’s personal financial circumstances will naturally colour their pay experience. For example, if workers struggle to make ends meet, payday is likely a greater source of anxiety.


The report findings aren’t surprising. Workers are more stressed than ever – whether due to financial anxiety or work-related stressors – and this can translate to higher costs for employers, including lost productivity, increased absenteeism, and lower employee engagement.


As cited by the Wall Street Journal, according to UK government figures, “more than half of the country’s working days lost to ill health in 2017-2018 were caused by stress, depression or anxiety.” Further, as reported by the BBC, the Health and Safety Executive (using data from the ONS Labour Force Survey), calculated that there were 595,000 cases of work-related stress, depression, or anxiety  in 2017-2018 (a prevalence rate of 1,800 per 100,000 workers).


The Ceridian report also found that younger workers were more likely to report being stressed. Those aged 18 to 24 years old were the most likely to be very or extremely stressed about pay and money (45%) and very few in that younger cohort said they weren’t stressed at all (8%).


Putting the spotlight on financial wellness

According to Ceridian’s research, when asked if they think their employer cares about their financial well-being, only 19% of employees said their employer cares “very much,” and a further 30% responded “a little.” But 34% of employees answered “no,” and 17% didn’t know.


This highlights an opportunity for companies to take a closer look at their programs to help protect both employee engagement and their organisation’s bottom line.


Companies should help employees focus on work, not on finances, by reducing that stress and creating a culture where people don’t feel overwhelmed, particularly in a world where the lines between work and life often blur and overlap.


To support better business outcomes, leading companies are increasingly prioritising their employees’ financial and mental wellness, and are seeking solutions, such as new programs and technologies, that will enable their people to be productive, engaged, and satisfied at work.


Learn more about how leading companies are elevating employee wellness in Ceridian’s 2019 Human Capital Management Trends report


How employers can better support financial wellness

According to SHRM, some organisations are ramping up their financial wellness benefits offerings, and the options will differ depending on how organisations define “financial wellness.” For example, some companies are making their advisory programs more personalised, to offer guidance for different employee demographic groups (e.g. helping younger workers start saving earlier for retirement).


In the UK Pay Experience Report, Ceridian’s Chief People and Culture Officer Lisa Sterling emphasizes the importance of explaining the value of your organisation’s programs that contribute to financial wellness. “Think about how much effort we as HR professionals put into building and evaluating benefits programs,” she says. “We should spend more time and energy on providing education on why they are important, so people actually take advantage of them.”


Taking these steps will not only help attract and retain talent in a competitive market, but it can also help improve a company’s brand reputation as one that prioritises employee wellness.


Download the full UK Pay Experience Report to learn more about what employees want from their pay experience


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