Financial stress takes a toll on workers, and their employers

Our latest Global Sentiment Survey uncovered several financial issues that are causing stress for workers around the world. This may be of interest for employers, as our research shows that when workers are stressed about their finances, the stress may impact their concentration at work.

Financial stresses and the impact on employee stress levels, and their concentration at work

Question: You identified the following as causing you stress. How much do you agree or disagree that each of these have impacted your ability to concentrate at work?
Source: The Fidelity Global Sentiment Survey 2023.

The potential impact of stressed workers on productivity

Our global employer research found that 34% of employers worldwide reported experiencing performance and productivity declines. These decline may be caused, in part, by stressed and distracted employees.

Some multinational employers have reported performance and productivity declines

Question: Which of the following has your company experienced over the past year?
Source: The Fidelity Global Employer Survey 2023.

Supporting financial wellness in the workplace may be beneficial to both employers and employees

Our research shows that employers that feel very and/or extremely responsible for the financial wellness of their workforce report their employees are more satisfied than those of their industry peers. We previously indicated that employees who are very/extremely satisfied with their jobs may be more likely to be more productive at work and less likely to leave their current roles than employees with lower job satisfaction – which is essential for talent retention.

Percentage of employers who report having employees who are very and/or extremely satisfied

Question: In general, how would you rate the financial wellness of your workforce?
Question: On average how satisfied are employees with working at your organization?
Question: To what degree does your company feel responsible for taking steps to support employees’ financial wellness?
Source: The Fidelity Global Employer Survey 2023 

Taking a holistic approach to financial wellness may help employers support those employees who are experiencing financial stress 

To better support their workforce, employers may consider reviewing and expanding their definition of financial wellness to incorporate both quantitative (i.e. how much does a worker have or save) as well as qualitative (i.e. how does a worker feel about their financial situation) elements. Equally important, employers may consider aligning how they define financial wellness to support with how their employees.

Financial wellness areas where there is an opportunity to align

Question to Employers: In your company’s view, what does it mean for employees to be “financially well”?
Question to Employees: In your view, what does it mean for you to be “financially well”?
Source: The Fidelity Global Employer Survey 2023 (1,000 respondents) and The Fidelity Global Sentiment Survey 2023 (26,000 respondents).

As outlined in the chart above, some attributes of financial wellness may be descriptive of how someone is feeling about their financial situation.  

Fidelity believes that financial wellness is holistic and multifaceted: objectively, it is an individual’s total financial situation; subjectively, it is how the person feels about their financial situation.  

Taking a holistic approach to financial wellness and understanding the elements of workers’ overall financial pictures may help employers provide the support and guidance necessary to make a difference to those employees who need it most and concurrently support their own business priorities and goals.

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