Financial Well-being: the last taboo in the workplace tackles the crucial but often overlooked issue of financial well-being in the workplace.

The report explores the concept of financial well-being, described as: ‘Being and feeling financially healthy and secure, today and for the future’ and considers why talking about money and personal finances has long been seen as a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.

By looking at the financial ‘state of the nation,’ the report considers how financially healthy employees actually feel today. Do they feel on top of their finances and positive about the future, or are they feeling squeezed and struggling to make ends meet, and how does this play out amongst the different generations of today’s workplace?

As well as looking at the generational differences that exist, the research also investigates whether employees feel supported by their employers when it comes to financial well-being. Comparing this to how employers themselves think they’re doing in this area, the report asks, in reality, are employers helping or hindering?

Crucially, the report highlights the impact of poor financial well-being on employee engagement and productivity and the potential knock-on effect on company performance. In busting some of the myths around financial well-being, the report is designed to help employers understand why financial well-being should be on their radar.

The insights gained from a YouGov survey of over 2,000 British employees from across a wide range of sectors will help organisations understand the financial support employees want and need. This is supplemented by a four-stage process and a range of solutions designed to tackle the financial well-being taboo.

The starting point is developing a deep understanding of employee needs, which will then allow you to build the business case and then enable you to design of a financial well-being strategy to meet the needs of your workforce. The report is rich in practical solutions to address and improve financial health of your workforce.

Company case studies in the report illustrate success stories of how financial well-being is being addressed and share key learnings and tips from which other organisations can benefit.

Financial Wellbeing: The Last Taboo of the Workplace? is essential reading for any employer wanting to truly address all aspects of well-being in the workplace.

Why should HR professionals read the full report?

  • Because 1 in every 10 of your employees is struggling financially – but won’t tell you this
  • Because those employees with financial worries say their work is being impacted – they are distracted and productivity is suffering
  • Because poor financial well-being can impact the bottom line - you can’t afford to ignore the taboo of financial well-being

The report has been developed to educate employers about the importance of including financial wellbeing in their overall employee wellbeing strategy and outlines the impact of not doing this. It supports previous research which claims that for the first time ever, the majority of people in poverty are those in working families and has been developed as a call to action for organisations to realise it is the people in their companies which are struggling. The report argues that responsible employers should be providing more than just an income when it comes to addressing employees’ financial wellbeing.

What does the report tell us?

Employee’s financial health – a working nation in financial difficulty

  • More than one in ten UK employees are financially ‘slipping’ – struggling to make ends meet and using expensive forms of borrowing
  • Almost two thirds of the working nation are financially ‘balancing’ – focusing on their current financial situation rather than saving for the future 
  • 46% of employees worry about their finances

    • 1 in 5 lose sleep worrying about finances
    • 2 in 10 said that worrying about their finances affects their work
    • 2 in 5 only have up to a month’s savings to tide them over and just 58% of people feel confident about handling unplanned expenditure of up to £500
  • Financial wellbeing improves with age however Generation X are the most financially out of control generation despite many being at their earning peak
  • The report finds that it is savings, not income, which determine a person’s financial wellbeing. This includes having a ‘savings buffer’ – a pot of money set aside for unforeseen outgoings – and contributing regularly to savings.

Employer and employee disconnect

  • 57% of employers don’t see any evidence of a worsening situation for their employees
  • Only 2 in 10 employees are satisfied with the efforts of their employer in helping to manage their finances and 1 in 5 said they would value broader financial guidance, debt management and counselling if they were in financial hardship
  • 7 in 10 employers thought employees felt their organisation is concerned about their financial wellbeing compared to 1 in 10 employees

Why financial wellbeing should be on an employer’s agenda - impact on the bottom line

  • 20% of employees think their financial situation affects their work – lost productivity impacts the bottom line by 4%
  • 38% of employees said that they would move to a company which put financial wellbeing as a priority
  • Discretionary effort at work is fine times lower for those with low financial wellbeing and five times lower for those who are dissatisfied with employer’s efforts to help them manage finances
  • However, 60% of employers do aspire to a future where they will have some offerings in place to help employees plan and manage their financial situation.

A snapshot of the financial health of our respondents

Based on our research, this chart gives an overview of the financial health of our survey respondents and looks at how this impacts them at work. It also looks at how the different generations of today’s workforce fit into the four different financial health segments.

View full size chart [JPG, 207KB]

Financial wellbeing chart

How can Barclays help?

The report details a number of practical actions employers can take to improve the financial well-being of all employees. The report advocates thinking about solutions based on the financial health and ‘generation’ split of your workforce, and personalising solutions accordingly.