Insurance broker Gallagher has encouraged Australian businesses to provide more than a fruit bowl as a company benefit to their employees, as financial stress spikes.
A new Gallagher report identified unexpected costs, insufficient savings, and rising living expenses as the major causes of financial stress for Australian employees, with 70% of employees admitting to worrying about or spending time each week dealing with money while at work, irrespective of their position or level of income. This is costing employers more than $47 billion each year.
Driving these “here and now” money concerns is the mere $44 per week increase in the average disposable household income over the last decade. This, Gallagher said, presents businesses with an opportunity to do more for their staff.
“In the war for talent, employee benefits must do more than add frills,” said Graham Campbell, CEO of Gallagher’s employee benefits and HR consulting division. “Organisations wanting to build a better workplace for their staff should look to the financial health of their employees. The figures show no group is immune to financial stress. Businesses are only as good as their people and this level of financial worry across all employees impacts overall staff wellbeing and can lead to absenteeism.”
More than a third of the respondents said financial stress has affected their health.
To alleviate the burden of workers, Gallagher said employers should look at financial wellbeing support and education, equipping employees of all ages and income levels with better tools, programs, and education to face challenges.
“A fruit bowl is nice as a company benefit, but if you want to make a real change to the lives of employees, supporting financial health not only improves wellbeing but also moves the dial on employee engagement and productivity, and acts as a catalyst for business growth and profitability so they can face their future with confidence,” Campbell said.