While there are signs the economy is improving, people continue to experience unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy and credit card debt. Many Americans live well beyond their means and survive from paycheck to paycheck. Financial problems create stress, anxiety, relationship issues and depression. As a result, employees may have a difficult time keeping their financial problems separate from their work lives. Stress and emotional difficulties can lead to absenteeism, accidents and performance issues which will affect an employer’s bottom line.
Although the economy has been the primary source, there are other reasons employees may be experiencing financial difficulties.
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Shopping addiction
- Poor money management
The following are some signs that employees may be experiencing financial difficulties:
- Requesting paycheck advances
- Requesting an employer loan
- Often volunteering to work overtime
- Taking out 401K loans or discontinuing contributions
- Calls to verify employment or wages by lenders
- Garnishment of wages
- Change in work peformance, attitude or behavior
- Frequent phone calls
- Overly emotional behavior
Employers can take a proactive approach to help employees with personal and financial problems by providing a good employee assistance program. You can actively encourage the confidential use of the program for employees and their families by distributing promotional materials, linking the EAP website to the company’s Intranet, and reminding workers about the EAP in meetings, company newsletters and emails. Fully Effective Employees provides an optional legal and financial assistance program which allows employees the opportunity to speak with an attorney or CPA about their financial situation. We can also arrange to have financial planners provide financial seminars at no additional cost.
If personal problems have begun to affect performance, you should refer the employee to the EAP for the performance issue and if you suspect financial issues may be the reason, you can share that information with the EAP counselor. Investing in your most important asset- your employees makes good business sense.