Today's economic climate requires leaders to understand the financial wellness of their employee base. If leaders want to run a better business, they will have to traverse the current stigma about being too personal and ask employees difficult questions. Mostly about their own individual financial situations.
By doing so leaders will risk being seen as both good by some, for trying to help those who need financial intervention, and bad by others for simply making change where need for change may not yet be visible. In short, a strong leadership backbone is necessary to make positive financial wellness change work. For an organization to create real wellness equity, it will have to assess it's entire workforce and perhaps suggest some personally uncomfortable changes for specific cohorts of the employee base.
The best organization are action-takers. Actions at the leadership level set examples for actions at the employee level. When a company leads through action, it sets a positive example and inspires employees to follow suit.
A courageous leadership team can admit that they don't know what they don't know when it comes to the financial stability of employees. At that level of humility, leaders can more easily opening the doors of change, compassion and buy in.
When the questions are answered, many business leaders are finding out the opposite of what they expect. "We pay our employees pretty well, therefore they're financially stable" is a very popular assumption. In reality, a large portion of the total employee base out there are in fact struggling. Every business is a part of this metric, there really are no exceptions.
Financial wellness is not simply about income, it’s also understanding what to do “after the pay stub". In this context, many employees are in desperate need of employer support and direction.
As financial wellbeing has a direct impact on employee performance, it poses the question to all leaders. Do you know where your own employee base stands? Do you have any real metrics?
If you don’t understand the true financial wellness levels of your employees, it's time to take action, ask some tough questions and find out. The success of your business could depend on it.