Financial wellbeing at work – is it a waste of time or can employers do more?
For many people in the UK, money is a taboo subject to discuss in the workplace. Poor financial wellbeing can pose a significant challenge for employees, but it can also be a problem for employers too. Research from Champion Health indicates financial health is linked to employee health and wellbeing. 37% of employees surveyed in 2023, stated financial pressure was the number one concern causing stress outside of work.
According to The Money Charity, the average total debt per UK household in June 2023, including mortgages, was £65,513. As well, the cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation is exacerbating high levels of financial anxiety. The Money Charity also revealed that 34% of adults had either no savings, or less than £1000 in a savings account.
Darren Laverty, Secondsight Partner and Workplace Financial Wellbeing Strategist, shares his thoughts on the importance of financial wellbeing and what steps employers can take to help improve employees’ financial wellbeing at work.
“I have consulted several hundred employers in recent years regarding their employees’ financial wellbeing, for most of them it has been a waste of time, effort and money. This is largely due to them being drawn to the ‘free to employer’ solutions in the market when budgets are low, and a lack of specific understanding of needs and wants of their unique workforce.“
Employers who attended our recent HR webinar, highlighted that they are running financial wellbeing programmes based on assumptions of what their employees will benefit from. Often, they find themselves unsure of the necessary steps to take and unaware of how to address workplace financial wellbeing effectively.
This crisis has been evolving for decades but exacerbated by recent events such as lockdown and the cost-of-living crisis. I have noticed that by not appreciating the true extent of the problem, many employers are approaching this area too tentatively, and this leads to a tentative outcome. It also means that all too often, immediate business challenges tend to take priority. That’s why I’ve put together 5 ways you can easily support your employees’ financial wellbeing.
5 ways to support employees’ financial wellbeing
Whether you’ve already initiated your own financial wellbeing programme, or you’re thinking of starting one, here are 5 steps to help you make sure your employees gain more confidence and feel in control of their finances.
- Find out exactly what your employees need help with
Use anonymised surveys or questionnaires to gauge how employees respond to statements around financial wellbeing. By doing this, you can gain valuable insights to shape a strategy that meets their needs.
- Identify any challenges your employees might be facing
Some individuals might be more prone to financial stress than others, so it’s essential to be mindful of those who are more susceptible to it or require additional support within the company. From our survey results the following are the typical characteristics of those struggling the most:
- Anyone who may be in rented accommodation
- Age group 40 – 49
- Employees with dependent children
- Part time / lower paid employees
- Single parent households
- Check in regularly and gain feedback
To measure the overall effectiveness and success of how your wellbeing programme is doing, suggestions on improvements can help to eliminate any of the initiatives that did not work. Obtaining feedback on a regular basis can help you tailor the programme according to the individual’s needs and wants.
- Offer practical help
There are several ways to support your employees to enhance their financial stability:
- Encourage them to focus on aspects within their control such as budgeting, setting financial goals and reviewing bank statements
- Discounted tickets for retailers
- Offer flexible working hours
- Direct them to government support resources
- Pay rises and career advancement opportunities can contribute to financial wellbeing, however it may not be feasible for every organisation
- Management teams should demonstrate behaviour that actively promotes participation
Ensure your management teams understand why the financial wellbeing programme exists and how it will benefit the company. By regularly talking about the programme and making use of the available resources themselves, you can encourage your employees to do the same. This could help improve participation, and a result, your programme will have a greater chance of reaching those who will benefit the most.
By prioritising the needs and desires of your employees, you can empower them to regain a sense of control over their financial circumstances, and ultimately help them improve their financial wellbeing.
Get in touch
If you want to find out more about how you can further support your employees’ wellbeing and help them feel more confident and in control of their finances, I’m hosting a brand-new set of webinars in my summer series. For most of the organisations I’ve worked with, financial wellbeing has been a waste of time, find out the reasons behind it and how to turn things around. Financial Wellbeing Summer Series – Is Financial Wellbeing the best thing ever or a waste of time? – Secondsight (second-sight.com)
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 332 7143.
Secondsight is a trading name of Foster Denovo Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
This blog is for general purpose only and does not constitute advice. Information correct as of 20th July 2023