How Employers Can Better Support Their Employees’ Financial Wellbeing

In Business, Employee Benefits, Health and Wellness by Paul Howell

More and more businesses are understanding the importance of employee financial wellbeing (and with good reason). After all, money problems affect employees and that in turn impacts employers, which is why financial wellness in the workplace has quickly become a significant priority on the management agenda.

According to PwC’s 8th annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 59% of employee respondents cited financial or money matters/challenges as their number one cause of stress – more than any other life stressor combined.

Meanwhile, a study by N26, a British online bank, found that more than 18 million UK adults worry about money on a daily basis and almost a third (32%) admit that it affects their sleep. Furthermore, a separate piece of research by the bank revealed that 9.5 million Brits have mental health issues as a direct result of financial anxiety.

Now, let’s consider the fact that the inaugural Close Brothers Financial Wellbeing Index found that 22% of employers noted reduced productivity as a result of money-related stress; 22% said they had experienced a loss of talent; and 19% had seen higher short-term and long-term absences, the importance of employee financial wellbeing can never be underestimated by businesses.

So, with all this in mind, what can employers do to support better financial wellness in the workplace?

Here are five key considerations:

1. Don’t just focus on the workplace

While employers could be forgiven for assuming they can only influence workplace-related financial aspects, such as pensions, bonuses and tax-advantaged savings accounts, a better approach is to take a more holistic view that considers personal financial circumstances too. Even if employers go out of their way to ask their employees what would make a difference, the impact can be hugely positive.

2. Obtain a benchmark

Whether you’ve got an existing financial wellbeing strategy, or you’re going to be implementing one for the first time, it’s important to measure where you are right now. By gathering data, gauging employee sentiment and figuring out what your employees want, you’ll not only understand where you are now but also where you want to be.

3. Invest in training

In the same way that management training or technical training is an essential part of many employees’ roles, training that helps managers and HR staff to better understand the causes and consequences of financial difficulties can be extremely valuable. At the very least, it will help these individuals better understand employees who are struggling with debt and mental health issues, and be in a position to offer suitable support.

4. Consider giving travel/accommodation allowances upfront

Something as simple as providing cash upfront when an employee has to travel or work away from their normal office can have a positive impact. By giving an individual cash in advance to pay for their expenses and not expecting them to foot the bill and claim it back, employers will show they really consider the importance of their employees’ financial wellbeing.

5. Promote an open financial wellbeing culture

Talking about personal finances and debt problems is often difficult for many people. That’s why employers can help get the conversation started by promoting a culture of open financial awareness where nobody is judged or looked upon negatively, regardless of their situation.

Interested in finding out more about products that help safeguard your employees’ financial wellbeing and, in turn, their mental health? Contact us today.

I joined Premier Choice Group as an SME/Corporate Consultant in 2017 and look after the Healthcare & Protection needs of a nationwide portfolio. I began my career in Healthcare and Protection in 1985 with BUPA, before moving on to  Royal & Sun Alliance. In 2002, I became an Intermediary and worked with Private Clients, SME’s and Corporate clients on a local, national and international basis.