HR Professionals: Employees in Only Fair Financial Health, SHRM-Elevate Survey Shows

Workplace wellness programs may soon include money-management skills

June 25, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A majority of HR professionals describe the financial health of their employees as no better than fair, with young adults experiencing the most financial stress, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported today in a new survey.

According to SHRM’s Employee Financial Stress Survey, employees’ financial circumstances may be affecting absenteeism. Almost two-fifths of respondents said that employees have missed work in the past 12 months because of a financial emergency.

“The results could signal that financial issues are a growing challenge for employees in many workplaces,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM's survey programs. “Anxiety related to finances could be an increasing source of employee stress that has a direct impact on health care costs, absence and productivity. As a result, money management strategies — including budgeting and investing — may increasingly be considered as a part of workplace stress management and wellness initiatives.”

A majority of HR respondents (70 percent) described their employees as being somewhat financially literate, the survey said. And 17 percent said their employees were not at all financially literate.

Overall, 61 percent of respondents describe the financial situation of their employees as no better than fair. Organizations with a larger percentage of hourly employees were more likely to say that their employees’ overall financial health was fair and rate their employees as not at all financially literate.

Retirement planning (81 percent of organizations) and financial literacy training for investing (42 percent) were the most common types of services offered to employees. Nineteen percent of organizations offer employees loan products from a third-party provider, and 18 percent of organizations offer payroll advances. Almost three-quarters of the respondents who reported offering third-party provider loan products said the products have a positive impact on employees’ overall ability to manage their financial difficulties.

“HR professionals report that a portion of the Millennial generation are the employees most likely to experience financial stress in their organizations,” Esen said. “Demographic differences in the financial challenges of employees potentially could be a source of intergenerational tension or conflict and could affect how financial benefits are tailored to different age groups within the workplace.”

Commissioned by Elevate, the survey polled 419 randomly selected HR professionals. The survey, conducted from May 9 to June 2, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

The full survey report is available at

Media: For more information or interview requests, please contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6260 and or Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and

Follow the Research Department on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at Follow us on Twitter at: @SHRMPress

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