Two root issues that should be held in high priority by employers: stress caused by employee personal finances, and the employer’s bottom line. If the first issue of stressful personal finance problems of employees is adequately addressed, then the second issue concerning the bottom line of the company will be positively impacted. To help decrease employee stressors and improve the chances of achieving retirement success, these two root issues must be tackled.

Employee personal finances
Financial worries affect a large percentage of the American workforce. Harris Interactive and Purchasing Power conducted a survey that revealed 44% of full-time employees in the United States are involved in worrying about personal financial issues while on the job. Additionally, 46% of the workers surveyed admitted to spending from two to three hours each week on average engaged in activities concerning their personal finances while on the job. The PwC 2014 survey places that number slightly higher, at between 12-20 hours lost per month, per employee.

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It is easy to see how stress from personal finance issues can impact business when nearly 50% of the American workforce is adversely affected. Such stress takes a mental as well as a physical toll on employees, which directly affects both productivity and healthcare costs. Personal problems resulting from financial difficulties can therefore be considered the employer’s problem as well. When employers play an active role in producing financial wellness in their workforce, employees experience financial relief, and their stress is lessened while on the job.

Employer bottom line
The absolute “bottom line” of any company is to produce revenue sufficient to run and even expand operations while turning a profit. To achieve a healthy bottom line, companies must also have a healthy and productive workforce. If their employees are not performing well, then the entire business plan suffers. Diversion from job duties over personal finance worries, accidents and sickness caused by stress and time off to deal with financial problems all contribute to the losses of a company’s bottom line.

A low-stress workforce should therefore be a key target for employers. Not only should a low-stress environment be the goal for production or manufacturing crews, but it must also exist in other operational departments, including administration, marketing, shipping and all levels of management. Any one of these areas can become the weak link if stress is allowed to run amok over personal finance and savings problems.

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If according to the above Harris Interactive and Purchasing Power survey, 44% of the entire U.S. workforce admits to suffering stress over personal finances at their places of employment, then that is a good place to begin making changes. Employers can actively improve their overall bottom line by offering programs that focus on financial education and wellness.

It has been proven that low-stress employees are healthier, happier and more productive. According to a 2009 PFEEF study, every dollar spent by corporations on effective financial literacy programs provides a return of $2.80, which is a significant ROI. As financial literacy improves, money behaviors are changed for the better, which lessens employee stress, increases job duty focus, and boosts the company’s bottom line. It is a win-win situation for both the employer and their employees.

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Mark Singer

Mark Singer

Singer, CFP, is the author of three books, a frequent public speaker and the creator of The Financial Literacy Toolbox.