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Employers struggle to address wellbeing concerns

Employers struggle to address wellbeing concerns

Financial worries are having a growing impact on workplace mental health but employers are struggling to understand how to address the issue, research from MetLife UK has found.

Research by Pollright and discussions with a panel of 200 HR professionals in June 2018 showed more than six out of 10 senior HR executives had seen a rise in financial wellbeing issues affecting their employees' mental health and work performance.

This comes after last week Close Brothers suggested women fared worse than men across all areas of financial wellbeing.

Most senior managers agreed that addressing financial wellbeing would have business benefits and almost two thirds said tackling money related stress would help boost productivity and engagement in their organisation.

More than half of those asked, 58 per cent, felt there was growing momentum to provide support.

But 67 per cent felt they needed to know more about the link between financial wellbeing and mental health and two thirds said there needed to be more clarity on how to tackle the problem.

MetLife UK suggested employers should consider taking up group life and group income protection to help families and support staff who are unable to work due to illness.

Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director at MetLife UK, said: "Financial wellbeing in the workplace is a growing issue for businesses, with organisations reporting a rise in concerns about the impact on mental health and company performance.

"Companies appreciate they need to understand more about the issue so they can provide support for employees, but at the same time there is concern that there are no agreed best practice standards on how to implement financial wellbeing programmes.

"There is no magic solution to improving financial wellbeing in the workplace, but a well-designed employee benefits programme is a good place to start. The potential business benefits in terms of more productive employees are clear."

Neddem Faris, head of employee benefits at Drewberry, said: "It is great to see MetLife highlighting the financial wellbeing issues affecting employee mental health and work performance.

"Our own SME Survey showed over 55 per cent of employees regularly feel stressed with money worries topping the list. If employees are losing sleep or distracted by financial stressors you can see how this can impact their own wellbeing as well as their performance at work.

"It starts with education but the more employers can do to support the financial wellbeing of their workforce the better."

imogen.tew@ft.com