On Thursday, June 23, 2022, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands attended the VNO-NCW conference held at the Deloitte in Rotterdam.
During today’s conference, held under the theme, Financial Health of Employees, Her Majesty Queen Maxima gave a speech whereupon she spoke about the financial stress amongst employees in the Netherlands and internationally:
“Eight percent of all households in the Netherlands have problematic debts. Almost half of them have a working breadwinner. And that is very often employees! Four out of five employers have to deal with financial problems among their staff and this is even common in a quarter of the employers!
And this is happening in all sectors. We see the problem in all types of businesses.
The urgency is great. Think of the price increases for energy and food that households are confronted with. They make it even more difficult for many to make ends meet.
Also think of the digitization of the economy and the payment system. Buying is getting easier. The temptations get bigger, the overview gets smaller.
When there are financial problems, households wait an average of five years before they dare to knock on the door for help. Then there are on average 14 different creditors and the debt has risen to an average of 43,000 euros. Of this, 67 percent consists of additional costs and interest!
Early detection is therefore crucial. And you can play an important role in this. In the interest of your employees. And for your own sake!
After all, we know what financial stress does to people’s productivity. It drops by 20 percent. We know the consequences for absenteeism due to illness: seven extra days of absenteeism per year. We also know the mental consequences. Lack of concentration, gloominess, isolation and increased risk of dropout and burnout.
At a time when many companies are struggling with staff shortages, the financial health of employees deserves full attention. You want to keep your people healthy and motivated.
You can do a lot because you are close to your employees. Who does not have a colleague who no longer goes on holiday, or who withdraws from social contacts. Someone to whom you can see that there are concerns. We know the signs: loss of job satisfaction, irritability, less productivity, more frequent calls in sick, up to a wage garnishment.
During this meeting I would like to achieve the following together with you.
First: Awareness. This problem concerns all of you. And you can really do something!
Second, to form a platform that helps each other pick up signals early. That develops data, so that we know whether we are going in the right direction. And above all: in which we learn from each other which interventions work. Think of coaching, or savings options or a quick referral to external care providers.
I know we have to respect the privacy rules. But let’s see what is possible with respect for privacy to support employees more.
I am very pleased that a large number of companies are joining forces and forming a platform to get started with this. Really amazing.
It will be a platform for companies by companies.
My wish is that in a few years’ time I will be able to proudly tell abroad how Dutch companies have made a difference in their own country. How they formulated goals for themselves. And how they arrived at national objectives together.
But above all, I wish you healthy, motivated and productive employees, without financial stress. People who feel committed to your company and who want to continue to work for it.
Photo courtesy of RVD