The 5-second summary: Financial stress significantly affects job performance in Canada. Here are some tips to better understand the situation and find out what plan sponsors can do to help their workforce better manage this stress.
Someone who’s healthy and happy will always be more productive at work than someone who’s plagued with worry and debt. Financial hardship alone creates a considerable amount of stress, thereby reducing productivity.[ Note 1 ] Furthermore, according to an overall wellness study conducted by Desjardins in late 2022, finances continue to be the issue that Canadians worry about most.[ Note 2 ]
A survey by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada also found that more than 40% of employees say they’re under financial stress, which affects their performance at work.[ Note 3 ] Unsurprisingly, 84% of Canadians feel that their employer plays a role in their financial wellness. The Desjardins Overall Wellness Study came to a similar conclusion.[ Note 2 ]
This is a major challenge for employers who care about improving their employees’ wellness and increasing organizational productivity.
The numbers are clear. Nearly half of employees with financial anxiety spend 3.5 hours a week trying to resolve their money problems. For example, for organizations with more than 200 employees, employee distraction caused by financial stress is estimated to cost $1,000 per employee, or $200,000 per year.[ Note 3 ] That’s how much financial stress can affect a company. And that’s without even considering absenteeism, employee turnover and retirements, all of which affect business productivity.
Focusing on overall wellness
According to the Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS), stress is a natural phenomenon, and it’s normal for the current economic environment to aggravate financial anxiety.[ Note 4 ] What’s important is the ability to manage and control it.
This was confirmed by the findings of the Desjardins study. Canadians believe that their finances are the component of their overall wellness that they have the least control over.[ Note 2 ] Aside from reducing their efficiency at work, financial stress could also impact other aspects of their wellness such as their physical, mental, social and environmental health.
So, what can you do to help your employees manage their financial stress?
Talking about money at work can sometimes be difficult. But there are plenty of resources available. As an employer, you have to talk about these issues. Don’t be shy about discussing the stigma that surrounds financial hardship, encouraging financial empowerment and promoting the services and benefits you can offer to support your employees.
Businesses are increasingly taking a proactive approach. During the pandemic, Cineplex Theatres helped their employees by offering perks like online training to enhance their wellness, including financial wellness.[ Note 5 ] Desjardins experts helped with this strategy.
In conclusion, it’s worth pointing out that “the flip side of stress is not relaxation, but rather resilience,” as the CSHS so eloquently puts it.[ Note 6 ]
Your employees often need some help with being resilient.
Step up and be there for them!