The research, conducted by Close Brothers, found that 88% of employers think their employees worry about money but just a third (30%) think it impacts their staff while at work. However, for workers, the story is very different. Just under three quarters (73%) of employees say money worries affect them at work.
The survey also suggests that employers don't just underestimate how many employees are affected by poor financial wellbeing, but also the scale of the issue. Close Brothers' Financial Wellbeing Index shows that employees score themselves an average 53.6 of out 100 across seven areas of financial health. When employers were asked to estimate their staff's wellbeing, they scored 70.5.
Close Brothers said this gap isn't helpful for employee understanding and engagement, but it's also restricting maximising their people strategies and impacting business performance. Nearly half of businesses (48%) do not have a financial wellbeing strategy, and of those that do, just 18% describe it as "comprehensive". Twenty-seven per cent did say they have plans to implement one within three years.
Employers confirmed that poor employee financial wellbeing is damaging performance in the workplace, with lost productivity (22%), loss of talent (22%) and increased absences (19%) the most common outcomes.
Similarly, those with positive financial wellbeing see positive results in the workplace, with organisations tackling the issue saying they see improved productivity (30%), better talent acquisition and retention (24%) and fulfilling strategic business goals (22%).
Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers, said: "Financial wellbeing has been overlooked for too long, but businesses can no longer afford to be complacent. It is integral to unlocking employee performance, as well as attracting and retaining the best talent. But measurement is key as a on-size fits all strategy may seem easy to implement but is unlikely to be effective.
"In order to ensure that financial wellbeing strategies are impactful and cost-effective, they need to be properly targeted. By pinpointing which of the seven areas of financial wellbeing are the biggest issues and which employees groups are really struggling, employers can ensure that a programme is tailored to employee needs and will provide the best support to get financial health on track."