In recent articles we’ve discussed the benefits of financial wellbeing in the workplace. To be successful in realising these, employers need to have a clear strategy and plan. So how should they go about this?
Most importantly, a new financial wellbeing strategy should align with existing business objectives. These could be along the lines of improved productivity, better staff retention or even an increase in market share. Working with these objectives in mind and recognising the part employees have to play in realising them, will greatly improve chances of success. Employers will also be better able to assess the impacts their wellness strategies have had on business performance – essential if you have stakeholders who need to be convinced it’s worth the investment.
Sharing these objectives and ensuring employees are fully appraised of how their financial wellbeing contributes to the business strategy also goes a long way to securing buy-in and greater staff engagement.
Different strategies will be required for different organisations, so you really need to understand your workforce to make financial wellbeing work. Employee profiling is a useful place to start: working out where in their life stages your employees are and what initiatives would resonate most, and contribute most effectively to their financial wellbeing.
Employees have different financial needs and priorities,so if you have a larger workforce, you might want to go for widespread appeal and consider a broad range of options for these different life stages and financial goals. Smaller organisations might need to be more targeted and selective. In terms of savings options for example, employees looking to get on the housing ladder may welcome access to ISAs and share schemes, which are particularly suitable for medium-term savings goals, whereas a Christmas savings club could be a popular short-term solution for parents, or those on a low income.
Education and engagement are key to financial wellness and these are especially important when it comes to pensions and other long-term savings options. We know people often find pensions confusing and it’s a subject that tends to sit at the back of their mind. So this is an area where employers can support long-term saving beyond making contributions, and increase wellbeing through peace of mind and improved financial confidence and independence. Larger enterprises might be able to offer an online pensions ‘hub’, where employees can access information, tools and see their savings progress.
However, given what this entails and the necessary uptake from staff, this may not be an option for smaller businesses. And in this case, businesses should expect support from their pension provider. The employer’s role could be as simple (and cost effective) as providing links to relevant content from their pension provider. This way they’re helping workers get the financial support they need, and can focus on linking to the right content at the right time — rather than having to invest in producing something new.
The benefits of happier, less-stressed, more engaged and more productive employees should not be underestimated. It’s a cliché for a reason that for almost all businesses, people are the business, so attracting and retaining the best should be a number one priority. And an effectively employed financial wellbeing strategy should help do exactly that.
Second sight White Paper, October 2014, Is There a Need for Financial Education in the Workplace.
Information correct as at November 2016