- Financial wellbeing
- 5 minute read
We should all be making strides to help our employees improve their financial wellbeing. But how can we measure employee financial wellbeing and track its improvement over time?
We have recently covered practical ways of improving financial wellbeing for employees — but how can we, as employers, measure employee financial wellbeing to track the effectiveness of our financial wellness efforts?
Financial wellness, and financial education in general, is something you want to track. By doing so, employers can continually tweak, adjust and improve their financial wellness programmes to reduce employee financial stress and genuinely help employees to build confidence and reach their financial goals.
At Close Brothers, we believe financial wellness comprises of seven key areas. Employers should be mindful of these areas when creating, tracking and measuring financial wellness programmes:
- Planning and budgeting — This involves helping employees to take control of their finances and understand their saving habits so they can save for the future and fulfil their financial goals.
- Managing debt — There's a difference between good debt and bad debt, and it's important to help employees understand which debts they should prioritise as well as how to set aside money to repay debt in a manageable way.
- Protection — This is an area least understood by employees and the type of protection people may need will be unique to their circumstances. When employees take out personal protection, it helps provide a financial safety net and peace of mind.
- Property — Whether buying for the first time or purchasing property as an investment, it pays to understand all the options available, as this is a big financial commitment.
- Savings and investments — Financial stresses are alleviated when we have set aside some money for a rainy day. Businesses can help staff, giving them knowledge about where to invest their money and how to build a short, medium and long-term plan.
- Tax — From understanding tax allowances to tax-efficient saving and self-assessments, this is another area people struggle to engage with, but it’s a crucial part of any financial plan.
- Planning for retirement — With your help, employees can plan a better financial future in retirement, and this is relevant at every stage of their career. Helping employees understand and engage with their pension savings early on is vital, as is providing support to employees as they approach retirement, both financially and emotionally.
Measuring financial wellness isn’t an exact science, but there are many indicators that can help build a picture of how your workforce is doing. Below are eight tried-and-tested ways of measuring employee financial wellbeing.
1. The financial health check app
A highly effective way of measuring employee financial wellbeing is by using the Close Brothers financial health check app. Our financial wellbeing app can be used as a diagnostic tool to assess gaps in knowledge, areas of risk and employee groups most in need of help. The app does this by checking how employees are doing in each of the seven areas of wellbeing outlined above. The app can be used to track employee financial wellbeing over time, indicating what measures and tools are making a real positive impact.
2. Changes to employee turnover rates
Employee retention is a complex area. An employee might choose to stay with your organisation for a number of reasons, or they might feel compelled to leave. This could be down to any number of factors, including a misalignment with your company’s purpose, insufficient opportunities for development and progression, or a lack of reward and recognition. But what’s clear is that employees want to feel cared for. They want to know that their company has their best interests at heart and that they're willing to put measures in place to help them — just as engaged employees are willing to go the extra mile for their company.
After implementing your financial wellness programme, we recommend measuring improvements in employee financial wellbeing by tracking voluntary turnover. If your employees are benefitting from your advice, your benefits and your assistance, this should result in improved rates of retention.
3. Changes in productivity and performance
We’ve previously explored how constant money worries and poor financial wellbeing can impact job performance. Such worries can increase stress and levels of distraction, meaning employees aren’t working to their full potential — regardless of how determined they are to do their jobs well.
Conversely, introducing financial wellness measures and relevant programmes will go some way to reducing employee money-related stress. It shouldn’t be long before you see a noticeable improvement in employee performance, productivity and satisfaction. Track levels of individual, team and company performance to determine the efficiency of your efforts and measure the overall financial wellbeing of your employees.
4. Absenteeism and increased sickness
We know that poor financial wellness can result in severe stress, but you should also know that stress has a physiological effect on our bodies. Continuous stress can make us ill, resulting in employees having to take sick days to recover. In the long run, high levels of sick days can have a detrimental impact on your business, so it’s important to do all you can to put your employees’ minds at ease.
Tracking absenteeism rates in your organisation and why people take time off work is another useful way of monitoring how employees are doing and whether your financial wellness programme is helping to combat the issue.
If your employees are struggling financially, here’s how to help your employees set financial goals this year.
5. Employee engagement and satisfaction scores
The right financial wellbeing programme should have a positive impact on employee engagement and employee satisfaction levels. After all, such measures will show employees you are invested in them, including their mental wellbeing and future.
It’s a good idea to track employee engagement and employee satisfaction within your organisation over time. Although many factors influence engagement and satisfaction, seeing consistent increases may be a positive indication that your financial wellness efforts are paying off.
6. Feedback from staff via surveys and discussions
Asking employees for their feedback, comments and suggestions is a crucial part of any successful organisation.
A great way of measuring employee financial wellbeing is to actually ask employees how they're doing, both in advance of a programme launch and via regular check-ins throughout. Is their financial wellbeing improving? Are the efforts you’ve put in place helping? Is there something else you can be doing to improve employee financial wellbeing?
There are many ways to obtain employee feedback, including during performance management discussions. Companies can also hold forums to discuss opportunities and canvas opinion, or send out anonymous surveys to solicit feedback from employees who may otherwise be reluctant to speak up.
Reviewing the Net Promoter Score of your financial wellness programme is another great way of benchmarking the quality of the support provided to your workforce, particularly when comparing providers.
7. Engagement with financial wellness programmes
You can have the best and most effective financial wellness programme in place within your organisation, but that doesn’t matter if your employees aren’t using it. Successful programmes involve regular communications to employees reminding them of the services available, and how the programme can benefit them. E-Learning platforms can also send employees personalised nudge emails at important times of the year, helping them engage and make the most of their finances.
As a measure of employee financial wellbeing, make sure to track the uptake and engagement of your financial wellness programme. Track the number of employees signing up and taking positive steps towards improved financial wellness.
8. Increased enrolment in company benefits
An increase in employees taking advantage of company benefits is also a good measure of engagement. If your employees are experiencing improved financial wellbeing, they may have extra money to save and invest in company schemes and benefits. It may also be an indication that your employees are making wiser financial decisions.
Measuring employee financial wellbeing isn’t simple or straightforward, but by tracking the points above, employers will gain a well-rounded, thorough understanding of their employees, including how they're doing and where the problem areas lie. This will enable you to tailor a plan built around them, helping drive improved financial wellbeing for your employees and improved productivity for your organisation.
At Close Brothers, we provide financial education services for people at every stage of their career. Help lead the way to financial wellness in your organisation. To find out more or if you have any questions about financial education in the workplace, request a callback today.