CFPB Looks to The Workplace for Answers on Financial Distress

Many businesses believe financial wellness programs generate greater engagement, loyalty and productivity, yet only 6% of employees strongly agree their organization does things to help them manage their finances more effectively, finds a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The “Financial Wellness at Work” report contains case studies to educate employers about practices that can improve employees’ financial health and increase worker productivity, such as working on financial wellness priorities during employee orientation and offering wellness training to teams of employees to promote peer-to-peer support.

Financial distress is widespread among the American workforce, particularly since the recession, the CFPB says, adding that this distress can have a significant, negative impact on employees’ work.

In fact, across workers of all generations, 24% admit their personal finances have been a distraction at work, according to the study. And, of those workers who are concerned about their finances, 39% spend at least three hours each week either thinking about or dealing with financial problems at work.

“Financial distress decreases employees’ productivity, increases their absenteeism, and may even undermine their health,” CFPB says. “Companies can use financial wellness programs to reduce that distress and support an employee’s overall financial health. These programs should educate employees to help them plan out their life goals and make responsible financial decisions to meet these goals.”

The CFPB reviewed research on financial wellness programs and on the delivery of financial education in the workplace. The bureau also engaged with executives in the private sector, nonprofit leaders, and financial education practitioners to solicit feedback.

Financial wellness at work is increasingly important both to employers and to employees, says CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a written statement.

“A financially capable workforce is a more satisfied and engaged workforce that is also more productive,” Cordray says.

Read the full report here

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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