A business’ heart is its employees, and having people with the right skills and mindset to tackle everyday challenges sets them and your business up for success. And it’s not just business skills that may need attention – looking at the skills people need outside their jobs can also benefit productivity.

A recent study from the Australian Psychological Society lists personal finance as the top cause of stress in Australia over the past five years – even higher than health. Similarly, a global Willis Towers Watson study showed that health and financial issues affect business results through a drag on productivity”.

So what can businesses do to help alleviate this type of stress?

The impact on business

While mental health days have become a staple for many organisations, financial literacy as a way to manage stress isn’t as embedded in the fabric of how we work.

For Margie Hill, General Manager of People and Culture at AustralianSuper, having a focus on providing employees with all the skills they need to reduce this particular type of stress is fundamental.

“Finance is one of those areas where a little of bit of knowledge can go a long way,” she says.

“Small things like understanding how to better manage superannuation, what salary sacrificing means or how they can start getting more financial stability can go a long way in showing that you care for your employees.”

Margie says providing this level of education is the right thing to do when it comes to the people that work for you.

“As an employer, the choices you make when it comes to employees can have a dramatic impact on their entire lives. The default super fund you choose will play a part in how comfortable they are in retirement; how valued you make them feel impacts on their personal lives in a big way.”

Looking at the bottom line

There are benefits from a business perspective, too. Training has been linked to higher employee retention. With turnover costing Australian businesses billions every year, the benefits to the bottom line could be substantial.

Happier employees, driven by support initiatives like training rather than just remuneration, have also been shown to be 12 per cent more productive.

Turning to partners

The first step in facilitating a learning culture as a business can be the hardest – especially if there are costs that need to be approved. The trick is having conversations with people and partners who may be able to help.

“People like to share their knowledge areas, so encouraging people to put their hands up and share their expertise is a great first stop.

“Failing that, look to suppliers who will share their knowledge. At AustralianSuper, we offer our clients the opportunity to have us run education sessions to help increase financial literacy around superannuation. We see that as an important service to offer.”