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07 December 2023

What UAE employers need to consider for employees in debt

By Theda Muller

Productivity and Performance in your company largely depends on the daily focus of your employees, so if they are facing debt-crisis issues, then that is where they will be focused daily directly affecting your bottom-line, whether you wish to accept this or not.

We are all human, the world has shifted its paradigm and now more than ever employers need to focus on the wellbeing of their employees as a first priority, then success is inevitable.

Many employees have debt problems and their only focus every single day is to keep the calls at bay, prolong their payments by securing more time from creditors and then keeping the creditors away from their office for obvious reasons.

Irrespective of whether the employee’s debt situation is self-inflicted or not, the fact is you have a problem when you have multiple employees in this situation and unless your Human Resources department implements enlightened awareness into your company, the situation will get progressively worse.

Employees need to know that there is a place they can come to for advice that they do not have to come to work in fear and live in that same fear daily.

This does not mean that employers will advance partial salaries or loans, quite the contrary, the lessons to be learn’t will still be hard, but they would be taught how to face this problem and effectively manage their debt in the future.

Who? Why? Why not?

People want to hear from others ‘who have been there, who have faced this problem’ and so it is time to call upon these experts to share their stories, tender advice and really seriously invest the time and effort to ensure employees are well informed because at the end, it would be beneficial to all parties.

Employers may ask ‘why should we get involved when we did not make the debt or stand surety?’

The answer is very simple; it is your Social Responsibility to ensure the wellness of your employees, show them that the human factor counts, that your success depends on their ability to continue achieving daily because without them, everyone is jobless and no companies exist and the question I ask is ‘when will employers realise this key factor?’

A very acceptable investment is incurred to commission an external expert to come monthly to address all employees where the forum is an open one and where you as the employer, actually get to know your staff better, because you are informed, you know what affects their lives and in turn affects your business.

But nobody takes the time to invest in these kinds of sessions because they don’t want to take the responsibility.

Be a parent

Finally as an employer you are the ‘parent’ of the employee and relationships today are built on reach, support and trust and when your employee knows that they can come to you to resolve their problems, within an advice capacity, then you have earned their trust and support.

The process of just terminating an employee because they are saturated with debt, not only rests on the employee, because they can be terminated and will find themselves in very bad situations and tomorrow you would gladly replace them and forget they existed.
Salary certificates

The real problem is that the grass is never greener on the other side, meaning that the replacement employee or any other existing employee can have the same problems, because you would not know so the problem remains a problem internally and unless you address that problem, it will never go away, because the problem is within your company, not externally.

Maybe you are an ‘a listed’ bank company so it means that employees are easily afforded credit, where your Human Resources department has not aligned itself with stringent policies pertaining to the tracking of the issuance of salary letters to financial institutions.

This may be perceived to be a small issue but actually if you took responsibility as an employer to actually track these activities, you could have nipped a foreseeable problem in the bud and saved that employee a life of misery and problems.
Domino effect

Most times we never look at the big picture because nobody has taken the time to create awareness, but the downside big picture has a domino effect and that is that if you did not issue that salary letter once finding that the employee is already saturated with credit facilities beyond their earning capabilities, you would have stopped them from facing problems, you would have stopped the Financial Institution from having a bad debt and perhaps you would have stopped the effect on the country’s economy because we are not just talking about one debtor, we could talk about 500,000 debtors employed in companies with the same problem and so we can estimate this by an average of Dh30,000 as personal loan and so the repercussions is staggering financially.

Hence, if one employer took the initiative and many followed there could be many lives saved and much more success and prosperity within companies.

Today it is not just about us, or eliminating the bad apples, or just relieving ourselves of the problem because we need to learn that globally people, top executives and business owners are reaching out within to start making a difference and there are many examples in the world to substantiate this key factor.

The change quote

The famous quote ‘'Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change’, is very true because nothing will change if you don’t make those changes and we can dream about success but it takes personal effort as a business owner, top executive or someone managing an entity.

Today more than ever, everything revolves around the wellbeing of people who serve us and if we cannot make the extra effort then the money we dream about, won’t come but if we take the time to reach out and focus on our people, then the money is a natural progression, so is the success.

People always need a point of support and they may not find this in their homes or with friends because there are many negative factors associated with reaching out in these spheres, but when it is a neutral environment, they seem to be more susceptible to openness and wanting to share and speak out.

We need to realise that fear stops people from advancing in many key areas of their lives and the work environment is no different, in fact it is key because it is the place people spend most of their daily time, so why not make it worthwhile for all parties?

Never say never

As employers we can never say never, because we never know when the tables can turn on us and then we expect the empathy, sympathy, support and guidance from others but if we don’t do it ourselves, how can we expect it from others?

Pointing the blame and shirking the responsibility as employers will not serve you, but changing the way you think and react, will change everything for you, just try it and see because receiving appreciation and gratitude from people who serve you, will change your life and theirs and this is an invaluable creation for the human being, because it advances their lives more than they imagined.
[Note 1: Theda Muller is a UAE-based author of two books: Embrace Financial Freedom Volume One: 10 Proven Ways To Release Debt And Emotional Fears In Today’s Economy, and Volume Two: Releasing Fear And Bouncing Back From A Debt Crisis. She also conducts webinars and workshops on debt recovery.]

[Note 2: The views expressed are the author’s own and do not reflect in any way, the views of Emirates 24|7. Readers are advised to carry out their own due diligence before taking any decision.]

[Image via Shutterstock]