Impact of employee financial stress may be higher than thought
Financial pressures are impeding the job performance of nearly one out of four employees by their own admission, and almost as many employers report substantial losses in productivity as a result.
As many as 24% of American workers say they experience distractions at their jobs due to personal financial issues, according to a 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey on Employee Financial Wellness. Even more worrisome, stress over finances at the workplace affects 60% of younger millennial workers—those born in the early 1980s through the early 2000s. High-earning individuals making $100,000 a year or more also report experiencing financial stress at work, busting the myth that such problems are only experienced by low-income, unskilled employees.
Cost to employers
Employees that are distracted by financial pressures end up costing companies in several ways, and the impact on business revenue can be quite severe. Heightened levels of anxiety hurt morale and prevent workers from producing at maximum efficiency. Medical expenses and time off for injuries or illnesses due to financial stress are another major drain on a business’ bottom line, as are the costs of the various programs that help employees address these issues.
Absenteeism due to financial problems is another costly issue. Approximately one out of five workers report that they have left the job early or missed work altogether in order to attend to personal financial problems. In a survey conducted by Glassdoor and Red Bull, nearly half (48%) of the respondents admitted to being overly fatigued, causing them to be distracted and mistakes during working hours.
"Close to one out of four (22%) of line supervisors and HR officers report that the personal financial concerns of their employees have taken a significant toll on production."
So how big is the impact? Close to one out of four (22%) of line supervisors and HR officers report that the personal financial concerns of their employees have taken a significant toll on production. To try and help remedy this, some 50% of employers have made efforts to provide retirement savings assistance and financial educational programs. Yet only a meager 6% of employees polled by Gallup say they feel that their employers are providing them with sufficient help to effectively manage their finances.
Unfortunately, the trend is clear enough: The number of employed Americans suffering some form of financial stress is large and growing, and this is detracting from their job performance and hurting their employers bottom line.