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Financial Stress and Workplace Performance: Developing Employer-Credit Union Partnerships

This report looks into the financial stress faced by credit union employees and what their organizations can do to help. 

Executive Summary

The financial problems of employees cause untold hardship monetarily, emotionally and physically. These money problems affect both employees and employers, reducing productivity, increasing absenteeism, and ultimately affecting employer profitability. To combat a serious drain on workplace productivity, employers can provide incentives for employees to attain financial wellness.

Credit unions can become partners in this effort by participating with their sponsoring organizations in educational programs and interventions designed to improve employee financial wealth building and coping skills, and assist households needing help to remediate poor financial habits. 

What is the research about?

In order to address the mentioned issues, a colloquium brought together top researchers in the field and credit union executives to discuss practical approaches to the problem. In the first session, E. Thomas Garman discusses how improving employee financial wellness can increase profitability. In session two, Flora Williams dives into the best practices around financial counseling in the workplace. In session three, Robert Weisman looks at the issues of financial stress and examines how people react to this stress on a personal level and how that affects workplace performance. In the final session, participants discuss strategies to promote credit union employer partnerships.

What are the credit union implications?

Credit unions are in a unique position to work within their organizations to reduce employee financial stress and increase workplace performance. They possess the resources and expertise to address employee financial problems, thereby reducing financial stress and increasing on-the-job performance. Everybody wins when employee financial problems are solved. The employer maximizes return on its human resource investment. The employee grows in terms of confidence and self-worth. The credit union builds goodwill and fosters its reputations a value-added partner to both employer and employee.

This report is sponsored by the Center for Credit Union Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Funding was provided by the National Credit Union Foundation with the help of a generous grant from The Ford Foundation.