20th Nov 2019

Financial wellbeing – what does it mean for your employees?

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We know all about this by now – don’t we? Financial wellbeing seems to be the trend of the year and every HR or Employee Benefits conference has some aspect looking into this. But in practical terms what does it mean to your business and, most importantly, your employees?

As an HR or Reward Manager, it could be easily seen as additional work or something for large companies with equally large budgets to offer due to the high costs and no clearly defined or measurable return on investment. However, this way of thinking appears to be fading out with 76% of companies recently saying that they planned some initiatives around this now (ref TWatson).

To make any benefits initiative work, we always think it’s best to truly know the issue you are trying to solve. Your employees and your business are unique so what financial wellbeing means to them, and the areas in which they might need their employer’s support can only be determined by themselves initially and then encouraged and incorporated into your company culture. Many times we have seen wellbeing initiatives start with great ideas and all the best intentions, but three months down the line are they still seen as great? Are they still being used? Does anyone even remember they are there? A bit like those pesky gym memberships we all took with the intent on going three times a week but most of us won’t have used or even got round to cancelling!

Taking the route of letting your employees define their financial wellbeing means that ongoing success is much more likely and the cost can be as much as nil.

The link between the financial aspects and traditional health and wellbeing is clear with stress and mental health being two of the prime reasons for absence and financial worries is one of the biggest causes of stress and mental health issues so the case for financial wellbeing has been well documented, but just in case you have missed it:

For businesses – it’s estimated that 40% of employees have regular concerns about money, this leads to lack of sleep, which leads to an inability to function as their ‘best self’ during the day – most of which is spent at work so businesses lose productive days. 11% of employees have stated their productivity had been affected by financial concerns and their work absences often link to this as it becomes too much and their mental health suffers.  

We’ve created the ultimate guide on financial wellbeing – it includes analysing your company culture, how to communicate the benefits you offer and how to improve individual staff member’s desire to think about financial wellbeing; as well as our “Wellbeing Triangle” –

Download now

Employers have the resource to effectively provide help, assistance and guidance in a very cost-effective way. With 60% of employees looking to their employer for help (Capita Employee Insight Report 2016), there is little room to ignore this pressing issue, especially when many of the initiates can be delivered through group events, webinars and online.

Financial wellbeing typically covers mental, physical, financial and social happiness. Happiness is subjective, what happiness means to each person is completely different. This should be noted when considering implementing something like financial wellbeing within your workplace. So how do you measure happiness within your staff post-implementation?

Get their buy-in. Springing something on your staff with little to no context will take them by surprise and probably won’t take off as you want it to. You need to encourage your staff, showcase the evidence and provide easy access to the options they have available. This can be done through company-wide emails, updates on your company intranet, and announcements/updates at company-wide updates.

Don’t set expectations too high. Sometimes new processes in a workplace can be a slow burner, this isn’t to say what you’ve implemented isn’t a good initiative, it just means your employees need to let our previous point take its course. However, this doesn’t mean that you should underestimate your implementation, you should be realistic and communicate this to your peers.

Talk to your staff. This is simple but effective. The more your employees feel they’re being heard the more they’ll consider future cultural implementation initiates you’re considering. This can be done by carrying out employee surveys, consider open-ended questions instead of yes/no answers.

You also need to take into account the different demographics you have. There can be 3 or 4 generations in the workplace at any one time and what works for a 50-year-old member of senior management, doesn’t necessarily work for a 25-year-old who is cutting their teeth at the start of their career. To help with this aspect we suggest champions are appointed as local spokespeople, promoters and facilitators – but they must have genuine input into any initiatives.

Financial wellbeing is a crucial aspect of any benefits package as your employees could need to more than you think. If you would like to discuss how to implement better financial wellbeing into your businesses benefits strategy – get in touch with us today!