The average debt per UK citizen now stands at an all-time high of just over £30,000. This doesn’t include mortgages, this is personal debt and so, as you can imagine, many people are under great stress over these amounts.
Debt affects all areas of our lives, from relationships, sleep, mental and physical health and also our work performance.
If you’re an employer and you have concerns about an employee who seems to be struggling with money and debt, you might want to offer them support. You need to help them not just because you care about them as a person, but because you need them to be on their best game.
Keep your channels of communication open
Are you an approachable employer? Do your employees feel that they can come to with personal issues, or to ask for a day off because they’re exhausted after a big project?
Of course, your employee might not want to talk to you about their debt management plan from Creditfix at the watercooler, but if they’re feeling desperate, it’s good that they know you’re there.
You can introduce the employee to a wellbeing or counselling service
If your company has a wellbeing programme or counselling service then you could put your employee in touch with it to get confidential and impartial advice. If you’re worried about a particular employee then you could arrange for your HR department to send out information on the various programmes and help available to everyone. This will prevent the troubled worker from feeling singled out, especially if it’s obvious that the service is confidential.
Make sure you have good pay structures
Times are hard in the UK right now, with wages not keeping up with inflation, so many people are only just scraping by each month. If you care about your employees and their welfare – both in terms of job satisfaction and financially – then the best thing you can do is pay them well.
You could become an accredited Living Wage employer, for example, or offer a bonus scheme. If your employees are earning enough to pay their way through life and have a little something left over, they’re more able to tackle their debt problems. They’ll also feel valued by you so they’ll be far more likely to stay with you long-term.
Review employees’ pay regularly
Make sure that you keep track of everyone’s annual pay rises so that everyone – including the employee or employees struggling with debt – get a timely pay rise. Pay rises make a huge difference to someone who’s only just managing and so it’s important that their increment happens on time.
Even if your employee’s debt problems aren’t having much of an impact on their performance at work, they’ll still be worrying about it a lot. If you, as the employer, extends a helping hand or a listening ear, you’ll gain their loyalty and still have it long after the last repayment is made.