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What if your employee has financial problems?

30 November 2022 Ellen Van Grunderbeek Employers

These are challenging times for you as an employer, but your employees also have financial challenges today. These challenges can give rise to fear and anxiety, which can have a negative impact on psychosocial well-being. How do you recognise employees with financial problems? And how can you deal with that in your organisation?

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Be alert

Talking about money worries is mostly taboo. Chances are slim that your employee himself will cite financial problems. Try to be alert to signs, certain behavioural changes, that may be there with money problems. For example:

  • Your employee no longer eats with other colleagues.
  • Your employee is quieter than usual.
  • Your employee comes to the office less (in his private car).
  • etc.

Recognise and break the taboo

Do you suspect your employee has financial problems? Then try to have an open conversation , leaving out assumptions and (pre-)judgements. We give you a guide for your conversation:

  1. Name the behavioural change.
    I notice that lately you don't join us for dinner.
  2. Indicate why you want to engage in conversation about this.
    That's why I worry about you.
  3. Offer security and confidentiality, make sure no one can listen in.
    If there is something, and you want to share it with me, I promise you that will stay between us.
  4. Actively listen to the answer.
    Ask additional questions for clarification, interact (nod), summarise, make eye contact and take time for the conversation.
  5. Pay attention to body language.
    Do his eyes tell the same story as his words? For example, "Yes, everything's fine", while your co-worker avoids eye contact.

So you don't have to provide solutions during this conversation. You offer a listening ear, and sometimes that is enough.

Point the way to support

In other cases, you may need to refer your employee to agencies and/or support services.

Give your employees a financial boost

You can also give your employees a (financial) boost themselves. Some ideas:

  • free soup and/or drinks or a fruit, vegetable or nut basket in the workplace;
  • discount on products/services you sell/manufacture yourself as a company;
  • an advance on the end-of-year bonus;
  • a free loan or a loan at reduced interest rate;
  • fringe benefits such as a meal voucher or eco voucher;
  • etc.

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These are not easy times. Find out how to create financial breathing space as a business.

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Written by Ellen Van Grunderbeek

Legal advisor at Acerta

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