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18 Sep 2023

How to support the wellbeing of debt-stressed employees

Financial wellbeing is intrinsically linked to mental wellbeing – employers can help improve both

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With research suggesting that employees experiencing money worries cost the UK economy £120bn and 17.5 million in lost hours, it pays for employers to offer financial wellbeing support. 

Beyond the personal health implications caused by stress, debt is affecting the economy and your business. Investing in measures to support employees’ mental and financial wellbeing helps ease the impact.

Here are five ways you can make a significant difference, reducing the burden on employees stressed by debt.

1. Financial ‘First Aiders’

Financial First Aiders are employees trained with knowledge of financial wellbeing. Providing a confidential ear and peer-to-peer support can help colleagues experiencing financial difficulties. A source of free and impartial guidance, Financial First Aiders can signpost colleagues to additional resources before, and if, debt becomes unmanageable.

2. Financial education

A total of 39% of adults (20.3 million) don’t feel confident managing money. Bridge the knowledge gap by providing employees with money management and budgeting workshops. 

Empower them further with a Financial Wellbeing App that allows your employees to access wage withdrawals ahead of payday, track their earnings as they work, build up savings directly from their pay, chat with qualified financial coaches and check their financial health score.

This is a proactive measure that can help them avoid getting further into debt.

3. Debt consolidation

The cost-of-living crisis has meant that 30% of adults are finding it difficult meeting mortgage, loan repayments or monthly rent.

Those unable to meet essential payments are more at risk of entering debt. When debt is at its most dangerous, people risk being buried by multiple creditors chasing them for payments. Debt consolidation by Salary Finance helps to combine debts into one manageable payment, often with substantially less interest than high-street lenders. It minimises money worries, makes them easier to cope with and helps people pay off debts quicker.

4. Stretch salaries further

Helping employees save on everyday essentials enables them to set funds aside. Whether they use those funds to contribute to household bills or to pay more than the minimum amount on a monthly credit card bill – it all helps.

The average cost of a weekly shop for a family of four is £129. With an employee discounts platform, employees can purchase a supermarket evoucher discounted by 6.5% (as an example). This means a £129 evoucher will only cost them £120.62.

When repeated every week, the above example amounts to £435.76 back in your employees’ pockets per year.

5. Support mental wellbeing

In the 30 to 49 age group, 82% of people feel either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very worried’ about the rising cost of living.

An employee assistance programme not only provides a safe space for employees struggling with their mental health, but also enables them to access financial advice.

A Sodexo Engage employee shared that they used their EAP service to save money when their energy provider back billed them for £1,400. With the advice provided by their EAP, they negotiated the bill down to £397.

Empower your employees with these five easily implementable steps to reduce debt and enhance their financial and mental wellbeing.

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