The state of financial wellbeing in the UK is to put it simply – not great.
£15bn is lost every year by UK businesses due to low productivity caused by financial stress.
22% of UK adults have less than £100 in savings/investments.
46% of employees believe money worries negatively affect their relationship with their manager.
But this is no secret. Most employers know the impact of financial wellbeing. The issue is
many are simply unequipped with the knowledge or tools to improve it.
Improving financial wellbeing builds trust between employers and employees, improves retention levels, and productivity. Here are a few key ways you can boost financial wellbeing.
To support employee wellbeing, you must first understand the unique needs of your employees. The good news is that employers are perhaps most perfectly suited to take on this role. Employers are uniquely positioned to understand when employees change jobs, become parents, retire and so on.
Keeping tabs on employees’ life events is key, however, to really get a grasp on their needs any organisation should hold an anonymous survey or a focus-group of both employers and employees.
There is no point spending on resources that will go unused. Genuinely listening and engaging with employees ensures you help them out in the most efficient way possible.
A lot of employees are not even aware of the resources that their employers are providing.Nick Bacon, professor of human resource management at Cass Business School, City University, puts it clearly: ‘Communicating benefits is crucial. Around two thirds of employers, 64 per cent, have invested in a large range of employee benefits but are failing to make it clear to their staff what they are entitled to. These companies are no better of than those employers who haven’t invested in any at all.’
Simply put, there’s no point even having benefits if no one is aware of them. Many employers make the mistake of simply providing a benefits package or resource pamphlet upon employment, and never revisiting the issue.
A fair number of employees never read these resources or forget about them a few months later. Reiterating the resources available and creating a culture of openness regarding finances (throughout management and beyond) will go a long way to improving not only wellness, but also work satisfaction and trust.
Financial literacy is perhaps the most important skill one can pass on to employees. Therefore, access to financial education should be at the heart of any workplace financial wellbeing package.
This can be doled out in 2 main ways – through a web-based portal or a simple one-time guide. Both would be built with tips and tools to help workers make the most out of their money and foster financial resilience. These can be curated with the help of free online resources such as The Money Advice Service.
The web-based portal may take more time and resources to create, however, it has the benefit of being trackable. Employers can track how many times employees use the portal, and therefore track its usefulness.
The ready-to-use guide is a more cost-effective solution but is limited in that it may be less likely to be revisited.
Direct sources of support are also well-received by employees. Cost reduction schemes such as travelcard loans and discounted memberships often offer a well-needed helping hand.
Another way of offering support is through financial products and services. Although there are a few organisations that offer financial tools to be doled out to all workers, such as early paydays or short loans. This, unfortunately, often requires a large upfront infrastructure cost that many small businesses simply cannot justify.
Luckily, there is a way to incentivise money habits through the promotion of tools to be usedby individuals – which is where the work of Wagebox comes in. Employees can get a discounted subscription if they apply through their employer.
Wagebox covers the most important topics regarding financial wellbeing, as stated by the FCA. This includes a live-view of your pension, encouraging users to become in-the-know about their future. Furthermore, if they encounter a short-term emergency, rather than asking their employer or a payday loan company, they can receive part of their paycheck early with our Get Paid Early feature, at zero cost. These features, alongside budgeting and saving tools can help foster a proactive financial culture at your company.