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Saturday, September 22, 2012

CIPD: Offer financial advice to help reduce the threat of stress

The CIPD has called on employers to offer financial education at work to combat the threat of stress and anxiety-related underperformance associated with employee debt.

With stress identified as the number one cause of long-term sickness absence, there is a real incentive for employers to tackle financial related stress in the workplace.

The calls come on the back of recent research from the CIPD which report that more than 70 per cent of employees saying that their organisation offers them no form of financial support or advice to help them better understand and manage their finances.

Further findings show that 59 per cent of employees think they would only be able to survive for less than six months if they were to lose their main source of income, with a quarter able to survive for less than a month before running into serious difficulties.

Worryingly, 39 per cent of workers report concerns about just making ends meet, with a further 27 per cent concerned that they are not saving enough.

A guide launched today highlights the risk surrounding a financially ill-educated workforce. It also calls on employers to offer financial education at work to help address poor performance associated with employee debt.

Introducing the guide, Charles Cotton, rewards adviser at the CIPD, said: "Employers may think that the financial savvyness of their employees is not their responsibility.  But the impact of not providing financial education can mean a workforce pre-occupied or overwhelmed by their own financial worries, and unable to appreciate the value of their organisation's pay, benefits and pensions package."

Among those workers who said that they were offered advice or support, the most common offerings were employee assistance programmes (13 per cent); access to an independent financial adviser (7 per cent); workshops on financial self-management (4 per cent); online financial guidance (3 per cent); access to a credit union (3 per cent); and access to hardship loans (2 per cent).

"A little financial education can go a long way. It can improve performance by giving employees the means to alleviate stress and pressure they're under because of financial difficulties," Cotton added.

"It can help boost motivation and staff retention by helping employers to get across the value of the financial benefits they offer to their employees.  And, by heightening general financial awareness, it can create a workforce that better appreciates the business pressures faced by their employers."


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