Times are tough for many at the moment, and some of your work-forces may be struggling with their personal finances. With the average adult debt standing at £28,000 in the UK, and likely to get worse as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, you need to put plans in place to help employees who are in trouble. Here are a few simple steps you can take to support employees who are going through financial hardship.
Have an honest discussion
Talking about money is still something of a taboo, and a big part of the stress caused by debt is the shame that comes with it. Having a frank and open conversation with your employee about the state of their finances will be a huge relief for them, and will allow you to properly assess the situation. You should make it clear that you are not there to judge them, and that their personal finances have no bearing on how you view them as an employee.
Make a plan
Coming up with an action plan can make your employee's situation seem less overwhelming. You should set small, achievable goals with realistic deadlines so that your employee can see that they are making progress. You should check in with them regularly to see how they are getting on.
Offer an advance or loan
If an employee is really struggling, you could consider offering them an advance on their pay, or even a loan. This will give your employee a bit of breathing space if they have payments due imminently. It also prevents them from going to a payday lender who may charge punitive interest rates. If you decide to give your employee a loan, everything needs to be done by the book. The loan should be properly reported and a payment plan should be agreed.
Think of ways to reduce commuting costs
Getting to work can be very expensive, especially in a big city. You can ease the financial burden on all of your employees by helping them to find local free parking, introducing a cycling scheme, or encouraging nearby staff to walk to work.