The effects ignoring financial wellbeing can have on your employees
If you have ever seen me talk at a financial wellbeing event, or read any of my previous blogs, you will know how strongly I feel about workplace financial wellbeing. And, as I put pen to paper to write this blog, I have just read the CIPD’s nineteenth annual health and well-being survey report1 which states that once again, financial wellbeing has been pushed to the back of employer’s minds.
The report states there are signs that more organisations are giving heightened attention to promoting good mental health and that there is an increase in the number of people who reported that their organisation was promoting awareness of mental health issues across the workforce (which in its own right is a good thing ). However, the exception to the increase in many employers’ holistic approach is financial wellbeing. It is the least-promoted area of employee wellbeing, with only just over a third (37%) taking action in this area2. But why?
As the founder of the LinkedIn Group – Workplace Financial Wellbeing, I have had the great privilege of discussing this topic with many people. The group has run 5 conferences, and it now runs monthly webinar training sessions, all free of charge. We have so many employers interested in attending our events but all too often they are unable to spare an hour to focus on financial wellbeing. I have been seeking to find out why, and its nearly always the same answer; something more urgent cropped up, I ran out of time, other work got in the way.
I have also found that the individual charged with the responsibility of employee financial wellbeing is often given the task but doesn’t always have the decision-making power or any meaningful budget. They must take this initial enthusiasm and new found knowledge and then attempt to transfer it to their superiors. At this point, unfortunately, this is often where the projects stalls or stops completely.
Sometimes there is a short window of time that the individual’s attention can focus on this before some other more urgent job comes along and the opportunity is missed. They really must move quickly to gain momentum but again, the window is frequently missed.
I am approached all the time by very keen individuals who really want to make a difference, we discuss a way forward for them but there is often a delay in any actions being taken, because they struggle to get any traction back at HQ.
In my opinion, I believe financial wellbeing plays a significant part in the overall wellbeing of your employees and pushing it to one side could have serious consequences and whilst I understand how busy employers are, and the need to get on with the more pressing issues of today, it’s the employees who suffer. Without financial wellbeing there is no physical or emotional wellbeing, so it is crazy to ignore it.
So please remember, if you task an individual with a financial wellbeing project, make sure you give them some support and budget and empower them to make the best decisions for your workforce.
This subject is a bit of a taboo in the workplace, so let’s make this happen. It is not difficult; it just needs to be important enough – and it is.