What is financial wellness – and why should it matter to you as an employer?
Put simply, financial wellness, also termed financial wellbeing, is a person’s sense of having financial security and stability. Financial issues, especially in today’s challenging world, can weigh heavily on a person. If an individual is not feeling confident or comfortable with their personal financial circumstances, this can have a significant impact on their performance at work.
Financial wellness in the workplace – what does that mean?
You’re probably familiar with the term “employee wellbeing” being related to an attractive employee benefits package that looks after the health of your workforce. You might think of death in service cover, income protection and private medical insurance etc.
But with the challenges we’re facing today, employers need to think beyond the traditional benefits when it comes to wellbeing in the workplace. Delivering financial wellness for your employees is all about providing the support, education and tools to enable your employees to take control of their finances and their lives outside of the workplace – resulting in a happier, confident and engaged workforce.
Are your employees suffering from financial stress?
With the current cost of living crisis and high inflation, financial stress is now affecting more and more of us. According to research carried out by the FCA1:
- The number of adults who missed payments on any domestic bills or meeting any of their credit commitments in 3 or more of the previous 6 months went up by 1.4 million: from 4.2 million (8%) in May 2022 to 5.6 million (11%) in January 2023.
- 29% of UK adults with a mortgage and 34% of renters experienced payment increases in the 6 months to January 2023.
- The toll on mental wellbeing was considerable with just over 1 in 2 UK adults, or 28.4 million people, more anxious or stressed due to the rising cost of living.
Worries about money and the resulting stress can have a direct impact on how an employee behaves at work. Lack of sleep, unhealthy eating and drinking habits leading to poor physical health and will affect how an individual is able to perform at work. There’s also the increased likelihood of employees seeking second jobs, leaving them tired and not focused on the work they carry out for you – and a greater risk of leaving your employment for a job offering more money and/or benefits.
How to bring financial wellness to your business
Whilst an employee’s financial situation is very much a personal matter, it can have a direct impact on their overall wellbeing and productivity. Managing financial wellness at work is therefore key to supporting your workforce and reducing your people risk.
You don’t need to be a financial expert or offer advice directly to your employees. What you do need to do is work with an advisory firm that can deliver a financial wellness programme as part of your overall employee benefits package.
Intermediaries such as Partners& will work collaboratively with you and advise on the right solutions for your business based on an in depth understanding of your team, your challenges and what you want to achieve.
The benefits of a financial wellness programme
Your commitment as an employer to support the financial wellbeing of your workforce can be much more valuable than simply being able to offer an increase in salary – even if that is possible.
Implementing a financial wellness programme can provide benefits for both your business and your employees:
Benefits for your business
- Stability within your workforce
- Greater engagement and productivity
- Confidence that you care about their overall wellbeing
- Attract and retain talent
Support for your employees:
- How to manage their financial situation
- Review and control spending habits
- Debt management – mortgage and loan advice
- Financial education around savings and investments
Supporting your employees with financial wellness can have a positive impact on retention, productivity and the overall success of your business.
Communication is key
It’s all very well ticking a box and putting an employee wellness programme in place. But if your staff don’t know about what’s on offer – or understand the value of the benefits provided, then it’s unlikely that it will be truly appreciated or utilised.
Communicating the support and programmes available is vital and needs to be repeated regularly. Not only for new members of staff but reminding your existing employees of the benefits provided so that if they need help at any time, they know where to turn. And importantly for you as an employer, the value of the wellness programme is more likely to be appreciated if your employees are aware and understand of the benefits provided.
The methods of delivering these messages will vary depending on how your business operates. Regardless, relying on emails alone isn’t enough. Inboxes are often overflowing and potentially adding to personal stress levels that have already been triggered by factors outside of the workplace.
Think about all the ways you have available to engage with your team. Staff notice boards might not exist in every business these days – at least in the physical sense. If you do have one, then use it to pin up the details of the support available. Most providers will offer posters, postcards etc to keep things fresh. If you operate a digital noticeboard or employee intranet site, then that’s a great place to post reminders and information.
Why not use a wellbeing calendar which will highlight key awareness days, events or initiatives that you run as an organisation? Again, these can be provided for you.
Keep your communications interactive – ask for feedback and promote discussion amongst your employees.
Best of all, when you can, talk face to face with your employees and make sure they know about the support and help they have on hand, and understand the value of the wellness programme you’re providing.
Encouraging conversation about the wellbeing benefits will help to create a culture of financial wellness throughout your business.
Financial wellness is often overlooked when it comes to employee benefits and yet it is now more important than ever. Providing support for overall wellbeing – mental, financial, physical and social is crucial to attract and retain a happy, healthy – and productive workforce.
The investment you make as an employer in your employees’ financial wellbeing can be invaluable to your business.
If you would like to know more about how Partners& can help, advice on your existing wellbeing programme or more information on financial wellness, we’d be delighted to hear from you.