How important are financial wellness programmes to your employees?
The answer is most likely very. The financial impact of Covid-19 is biting deep. Figures from ONS showed by the end of June, 12.5 million Brits said that their household had been financially affected by the crisis. Financial resilience to pay for an unexpected, yet necessary, event started to worsen in July, especially for parents and renters. Pressures are still mounting in an uncertain jobs market. The fragility of the economic outlook means that employees are placing a higher premium on financial wellness.
And employers are fast recognising that they have a part to play in helping staff improve their finances. But there is a wide gap between the type of financial support that employees are seeking and what employers are offering Recent research by Nudge Global found that 67% of employees felt unsupported by their organisation when it comes to financial well-being.
It could be though that it’s SMEs that are still behind the curve on this. Large businesses with 10,000 or more staff are already responding to this need. A study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute found that 75% of these bigger firms were offering this type of programme.
Whatever the size of your business, demand for financial wellness support is growing. But, before we explore what to include in your programme, let’s pause for a moment and take a look at we mean by financial wellness.
What is financial wellness?
Financial wellness is about enabling your employees to feel more comfortable, secure and at ease with their finances in their day to day life and in the future.
Why it is important?
Money worries obviously take their toll. Financial wellness programmes can help reduce absenteeism and improve productivity. Easing financial stress can also help end sleepless nights and employees are less likely to need time off due to physical or mental ill health. A well-crafted programme that helps you personalise plans so the right people get the right help at the right moment also helps with recruitment and retention.
What to include in your programme
Here are 3 tried and tested components of effective financial wellness programmes to help you better support your team in achieving their goals and reducing financial stress. Remember to be clear from the offset about why your business is starting a plan like this. Communication and early engagement about employee benefit is crucial to find out what individual team members need, and boost participation and uptake.
#1 Lifestyle benefits and perks
To make salaries go further, perks and benefits are a really good way to help your employees get more from cash-strapped budgets. This can include lifestyle benefits to help with the cost of cycling to work to savings and affinity product schemes and beyond.
#2 Educational tools
In a remote world, it’s easy for your employees to join virtual financial planning workshops or short eLearning courses. Schedule sessions with an expert financial adviser on long-term goals like saving for retirement or creating a rainy day fund, or for more pressing short term needs such as how to improve money management skills, manage bills or pay down debt. These types of topics will have broad appeal for different demographics. Educational workshops, courses and materials also helps employees see how your other benefits help them achieve their financial goals too.
#3 Digital tools
Offer your employees an easy-to-use, self-serve platform to access the financial benefits that they need. Poor communication about what’s on offer is one of the biggest barriers to uptake. Employees will only benefit from initiatives that they know about. In-built communication tools will help keep employees informed about options that are relevant to them, and any changes. A community portal keeps everyone talking and connected.