You’re back at work ready to make your mark in 2017, and your employees are all rested, recharged and raring to go, right?
Wrong. The spectre of financial stress is wreaking more havoc than ever among the Australian workforce and crippling productivity levels in its wake.

Back in 2015, when Map My Plan commissioned a report on the state of financial wellbeing in Australia, it found personal finance issues topped the list of leading causes of stress.

Just last year, PwC’s 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey found that financial stress was affecting 52% of employees. Alarmingly, they also called out Millennials as being in worse shape financially than their older counterparts.

Big problem for Millennials

According to the report, 64% of Millennials are stressed about their finances. Almost half of them (46%) find it difficult to meet their household expenses on time each month. And 37% say that issues with the personal finances are a distraction at work.

And, in yet another study, according to AMP’s 2016 Financial Wellness report, one in four Australian workers are experiencing financial stress. Though personal financial stress isn’t something they leave at home.

Big workplace issue

Their research shows that financially stressed employees lose on average 6.9 hours of productive time per week. Plus, they take off about four days a year because of this stress. AMP estimates the cost to employers is in the order of $47 billion per annum in lost revenue.

Clearly, financial stress is a big workplace issue. And it’s something that all employers need to tackle. As an employer, you’re the source of your employees’ wealth, so it makes sense to provide tools and services to help them manage it.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but as an employer, you’ll reap the rewards. As Ken E Allison, Partner & National Practice Leader at PwC says in their report:

“It is important for employers to show that they care about employee financial well-being as this will likely impact retention, recruitment and productivity, particularly for Millennials and Gen X. With retirement savings worryingly low, now is the time for employers to put effective financial wellness programs into place that focus holistically on the financial well-being of employees and drive behavioural change.”

So, it’s important that you focus on helping your employees get on a much firmer financial footing by giving them access financial tools and education. Whether your focus on budgeting, debt management, financial planning or saving for life stages, it’s a must have part of any employee benefits program in 2017.

Financial wellbeing, as a benefit, reduces personal financial distress, enhances employee wellbeing, and leads to happier, healthier staff. You’ll also benefit from less personally stressed more engaged employees.