EXCLUSIVE: Only 13% of business leaders see staff financial wellbeing as a priority

Senior business leaders prioritise wellbeing over HR professionals

Only 13% of employers include employee financial wellbeing as a top leadership priority, and just 4% see it as a top priority for HR, according to research by Neyber.

The 2019/2020 DNA of financial wellbeing report, which surveyed 11,000 employees and 270 employers, also found that, although 73% of organisations had financial wellbeing strategies in place in 2019, only 40% felt these strategies were well developed. 

Only 22% of employers agreed that offering financial wellbeing support was a valuable benefit for the organisation, despite the fact that the research estimated that employees worrying about money costs UK businesses £15.2 billion per year due to turnover, presenteeism and absenteeism.

Three-fifths (62%) of staff have are affected by money worries, and employees’ top concerns in 2019 were financial worries (29%), retirement provisions (27%) and work-life balance (27%); financial concerns have remained at the top if this list for the last three years of Neyber’s research.

Among senior leaders, however, key priorities were business growth (51%), improving productivity (37%), and cost reduction (35%). Meanwhile, 44% of HR professionals said that training and development was their priority, 33% cited attracting and retaining talent, and 28% prioritised employee mental health

More than half (56%) of employers felt that their organisation provided a supportive environment for financial health for its employees; however, this belief was shared by only 33% of staff surveyed.

Monica Kalia, chief strategy officer and co-founder at Neyber, said: “We believe there is a growing awareness among business leaders that the cost of financial wellbeing on a [business’] bottom line is far too high, yet can be addressed. We estimate that poor financial wellbeing among staff creates a £15.2 billion annual cost to UK companies overall, and for [an organisation] of 1,000 people, that’s £450,000 every year.

“It seems that HR is largely focusing on traditional objectives to solve pressing business issues. However, the importance of other key priorities is becoming clearer, not least mental health, of which financial wellbeing is a core factor. It has to be said that many of the clients we work with have altruism as a basis too, wanting to make a difference to employees’ overall wellbeing, yet they also understand the impact of poor financial wellbeing on growth, productivity and cost reduction.”