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Six steps to a more holistic approach to employee financial wellbeing

In these uncertain times many employees will be worried about their financial wellbeing. Employers want to support those that are most in need, but it can be difficult to find out who needs what kind of financial help. Is a holistic approach the way forward?

27th Mar 2020
Head of Content Salary Finance
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Employee financial wellbeing
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Although financial wellbeing is still an emerging area of corporate wellbeing, over 50% of UK organisations now understand they have an active role to play in assisting their employees with their financial health.

These efforts from employers are much needed as it is now widely acknowledged that millions of UK employees are suffering from poor financial wellbeing. The Employer’s Guide to Financial Wellbeing 2019-20 highlights that 36% of employees regularly worry about money, which is far more than any other area of life, including careers (26%), health (24%) and relationships (19%). The research also discovered that a large number of employees are not saving: 19% of UK employees save nothing each month and 20% only save up to £50. 

HR leaders should no longer be asking ‘why financial wellbeing?’. Instead, they should be considering how they can embed an effective financial wellbeing strategy into their business. 

Focusing on holistic financial wellbeing

Until recently, many employers focused on supporting their employees’ long-term financial health with benefits such as pensions, ISAs and share save. These long-term needs are, of course, very important and shouldn’t be discounted.  

However, being ‘financially well’ can mean different things at different times and this needs to be recognised within a financial wellbeing programme. To be truly holistic, an organisation’s financial wellbeing offering needs to take into account all employees’ financial needs. This includes support for immediate financial pressures such as managing debt or building enough financial stability to deal with an emergency. 

In doing so, you can develop a programme that helps employees with their more immediate financial issues, while also creating a solid foundation of control to build a more stable financial future.

The challenge for HR leaders

Many HR leaders now recognise the important impact a holistic financial wellbeing programme could have for their employees. Without making this approach a priority, their organisation could risk being left behind.

HR leaders should no longer be asking ‘why financial wellbeing?’. Instead, they should be considering how they can embed an effective financial wellbeing strategy into their business. Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself:

  • How can I encourage senior leaders to make this a business priority?

  • How do I find out what people need and what help we should be giving?

  • How do I persuade people to be more open about talking about money?

  • How can I communicate our wellbeing offering in a coherent and compelling way?

  • How can I  measure whether our programme is successful? 

A practical framework 

In response to these challenges, we have developed six practical steps to assist HR leaders in creating a financial wellbeing programme that works for your organisation.

Step 1 - Build a robust business case 

It’s critical to have a clear business case that can be understood by all stakeholders. It should show the cost of inaction and how financial wellbeing supports your people and business strategy.

Step 2 -  Know your workforce

Understanding the needs of employees at all levels of the organisation is crucial in order to help you understand who is most in need and the benefits they require. 

Step 3 - Enable culture change

Many of us are uncomfortable talking about money. Unless we break down this taboo, those that are vulnerable will remain hesitant to come forward and seek help.

Step 4 - Focus on progress, not perfection

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the pursuit of the perfect strategy. In our experience, those that have created successful financial wellbeing programmes started by addressing those with the greatest need first, making it ok to talk about money, and built a broader programme from there. 

Step 5 - Communicate awareness and availability

Even benefits that have been well selected will have little impact if employees don’t know what is available or if they’re not communicated to the employees who need them. The organisations that are able to communicate effectively have much higher levels of awareness and engagement.

Step 6 - Measure the impact 

To get long-term investment and buy-in for your programme, it’s important to consider what metrics you want to measure and agree on the criteria for success.

Want to read more about the six steps?

Download your copy of 'How to implement a financial wellbeing programme: Six practical steps'.

 

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