Financial wellbeing benefits and support are starting to gain traction amongst businesses and their employees. However, the subject is still not a high priority on every organisation’s boardroom agenda. Many are taking time to be convinced that offering a financial wellbeing program will have a positive impact on the bottom line and help its workers.
Financial wellbeing benefits and support: As an employer, it can be difficult to offer the right support at the right time, especially if there isn’t a solid support strategy in place. The pandemic has raised many questions when it comes to individuals’ finances. Financial wellbeing priorities may be changing for many, in tune with the unusual times we’re all experiencing.
Research by the debt charity Stepchange found that the number of people who are in severe debt has risen to 1.2 million – nearly doubling since March 2020– with a further 3 million people at risk of falling into arrears after taking on extra short-term loans.
The Stepchange report, Tackling the Coronavirus Personal Debt Crisis, found that 14.9 million people – 29% of the adult population – suffered a hit to their finances when the first lockdown began. Of course, there have been a number of government interventions since then designed to ease the financial burden on households affected. However, the time is approaching when inevitably these are unwound and we start to live with Covid. This raises the very real prospect that many, many more people may find themselves falling into debt.
Financial wellbeing strategies: The starting point should be with employees. We need to understand the overall financial wellness position within the workforce; what help do they need? Why do they need it? Determining the need for financial wellness starts with understanding the impact financial woes have on a worker and ultimately, the company itself.
In the UK, based on extensive evidence and analysis, the Money Advice Service developed the ‘financial capability framework’, which captures the main elements of financial capability – the behaviours underpinning financial capability and the factors impacting it.
According to PwC’s 9th annual Employee Financial Wellness survey (2020) more than half (58%) of employees admit they’re stressed about their finances with 47% distracted by their money worries at work.
A Financial Capability Survey looks at current levels of financial capability based on this framework and in turn, the findings of the survey have been used to identify where the Strategy needs to focus its efforts in improving financial capability.
In the UK:
- 39% of adults (20.3 million) don’t feel confident managing their money
- 5 million have less than £100 in savings
- Nearly nine million of us are in serious debt, and only around a third receive help.
- Money worries cost the UK economy up to £51bn a year.
The pandemic has rapidly increased the adoption of digital working practices and is driving significant changes to business models, and this is expected to be the new normal post-covid. It’s imperative that designing the right employee financial wellbeing strategy and embedding it into workforce data, can help companies reduce turnover, lower absenteeism, and improve productivity.
Survey your employees!
Conducting an assessment through an anonymous survey in-house gives companies the ability to pinpoint the issues affecting their employee population, and subsequently, the need for increased financial literacy, education, and overall well-being. The Float Financial Wellbeing Survey is designed to allow employers to focus on the financial issues that cause their employees the most stress in their lives. By adopting a financial wellbeing strategy, they can start to build stronger relationships with staff and improve retention rates.
Money worries take up such a large part of all our lives, it’s no wonder that they can transfer into and impact the workplace. Float’s Financial Wellbeing Survey has been designed to make the process easy for employers to gather the information from their workforce. The survey is quick and easy to complete, and all responses are anonymous and cannot be traced back to any individual employee.
A report is produced summarising results, analysing your employees’ wellbeing, and highlighting any concerns or areas that may need addressing. The report can be kept and be used to develop a financial wellbeing strategy, or even measure the impact of one that’s already in place.
What financial wellbeing benefits are on offer?
Retirement planning resources and education are the most commonly offered financial wellness benefits for most organisations and while they remain important, employees need to be offered more. By adopting a financial wellness strategy, company-wide and offering support that caters for a wider range of financial health challenges can help employers recruit and retain top talent because employee engagement works!
Digital financial education: Employees, especially millennials and Gen-Z, are hungry for financial planning apps/websites and tools to help with their financial decision-making. They don’t want to be tripped up by buy-now pay later schemes, or high-cost lending.
Earned wage access: Keep track of earnings, get a better understanding of finances by checking how much has been earnt throughout the month and if needs be, access their salary in real-time, without the need to wait until the end of the month. A real benefit in helping to meet expenses throughout the month.
Benefits checker: Your employees may not be aware of all the government benefits and support that are available to improve your financial wellbeing. Using a benefits checker will help to make sure they’re not missing out.
Personalised financial coaching: While talking money at work has traditionally been deemed taboo, this highly requested benefit has high take-up rate from employees. Here you can develop your own financial plan with help through an app. Access to personalised information and advice from regulated financial advisers.
Responsible borrowing & lending: Employees can benefit from better rates for savings and loans via Credit Union Loans who typically offer higher rates for savings and lower rates for loans than traditional banks.