By John Hope Bryant | Business 2 Community – Fri, Nov 21, 2014 7:35 PM EST

Even when employees report to work every day and collect regular paychecks, it’s likely that many of them are under some degree of financial stress. Financial stress can have serious effects on employees’ performance, productivity, and even their workplace ethics. Not to mention, their health–according to the American Heart Association, the number one cause for heart attacks is stress, and the number one cause of stress is money.

Moreover, financially strapped employees may not be fully engaged or invested in their employer’s vision. Because of this realization, some employers are beginning to address financial wellness as an important component of employee wellness.

Helping employees alleviate financial stress is innovative, low-cost, has measurable benefits, and is an efficient way employers can raise morale and create loyalty. It sits right alongside employer-provided health wellness tools and services as a new and effective tool for empowerment in employer HR departments.

Here are five ways employers can relieve some of their employees’ financial stress.

1. Provide financial counseling.

Financial counseling can be done in-house, or through a confidential, contracted national call center, staffed with qualified financial case managers. This service gives employees access to sound information and trustworthy advice on issues including debt restructuring, HUD-approved mortgage counseling, mortgage restructuring, and home ownership certification and funding.

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