A recent survey conducted by People Management has found that three-quarters of employees have never discussed their financial wellbeing with their manager. However, the younger generations of 18-24-year-olds are more likely to discuss their financial worries and situations with their manager.
The survey conducted as part of the firm’s 2022 Working Lives report was answered by 1,002 employees and 203 employers in April, and found that 18-24-year-olds were the most likely to have spoken to their manager about this, at 39 per cent, while 45-54-year-olds were the least likely, at 12 per cent.
Although the majority of people aren’t open to discussing it with their manager, financial concerns came at the top of the list of worries for both employers and employees, with 35 per cent of employers surveyed listing the cost of living as their top boardroom concern, and 34 per cent of employees noting salary or wages as their main worry at work.
Despite the current concerns, almost four in five employers (79%) did say they were optimistic about their company’s financial future, whereas employees don’t have the same optimism, with just two-fifths (40%) of employees saying that they were optimistic about their own financial future.
Emma Douglas, director of workplace savings and retirement at Aviva, said that talking about finances with employers was “one of the last workplace taboos”.
“Young workers are clearly breaking down the stigma associated with talking to the boss about the ‘m’ word, but it is important that all generations of workers feel they can talk about their financial wellbeing with their employer”, she said.
So, how can we make positive changes?
Lisa Seagroatt, managing director at HR Fit for Purpose, said employers should regularly stay in touch with staff, and leaders should be transparent with regards to business performance, noting that this could lead to increased engagement.
If pay reviews were not possible, employers should ensure staff have access to any existing company benefits, or arrange financial experts who can offer free and impartial advice, she said.
“By encouraging an open and regular dialogue, this can pave the way towards easing some of the pressures and worries employees will be experiencing”, she added.
Consider flexible working
The survey found that almost three in five (57 per cent) employees said that flexible and home working made them feel happier.
If employees are allowed to work from home on certain days it could help then feel more relaxed and could relieve of other stresses they may have, such as long commutes, arranging childcare, missing appointments etc. Allowing people that flexibility can help them achieve things they may not in the workplace. For example, if an employee needed to arrange a doctors appointment, they could do so on their lunch break from home, where as if they were in the office they are more likely to put the appointment on hold, or have to take time off work unnecessarily.
It is also a great solution for helping employees become more financially stable, as they may no longer have to pay fairs for their commute, petrol, or feel the pressures of having to go out for lunch with colleagues.
So why not cosider flexible working arrangements? This could be a hybrid model, or allowing people to work home when needed.
It’s time to take a look at all of your operations and figure out if there’s any ways you could be saving money as a business.
For example, if there’s a product of service you are paying for that you’re no longer using, or if you’re offering a product or service that isnt being bought by your customers - remove these and see if you end up saving money. No matter the type of business you are in there are always ways you could be saving money.
Once money has been saved you can then think about whether or not pay rises for employees are feasible, or what other benefits you are now able to offer employees that will make them feel more valued.
One of the main takeaways from the survey was that the majority of people dont feel comfortable talking to their employee about their financial wellbeing and concerns. So the most important thing that management can do to change this is to ensure that you make employees aware that you are there to talk to, and that they are in a safe place where they can be open, understood, and that their opinions and feelings are valued.
You can show this through updating company values, arranging 1-1’s with employees, or by speaking to your employees as a team to ensure they know about your open-door policy.
If people feel they can speak openly about issues they may be having then you can come to solution quicker and create a more positive workplace for everyone.
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