- Financial wellbeing
- 5 minute read
Mental health awareness week couldn’t have come at a more significant time as the day to day realities of living in lockdown begin to take their toll. For many of us, the home schooling, constant entertaining, and the need to play referee between siblings - all whilst working from home, can leave us feeling exasperated. This ‘new normal’ can put a great strain on our mental wellbeing, and with lockdown showing no immediate signs of lifting, it is imperative that we continue to find ways to protect our own mental health as well as support our employees to continue to be the best version of themselves.
‘Employee wellbeing’ has been the industry buzz word for some time, and encouragingly, we are seeing more employers beginning to challenge their thinking around what a true wellness strategy should include. It is hardly surprising however, that financial wellbeing remains to be the neglected child in so many wellbeing strategies when a recent Government address to the nation referred to wellbeing as just physical, mental and social!
Sadly, there is an abundance of statistics to show us that stress (aka the silent killer) is the main cause of workplace absence, reduction in productivity, engagement and ultimately the business’s bottom line. The single biggest cause of stress is money worries, with 94% of employees admitting that they worry about money, and an alarming 77% stating that these worries impact them at work [Close Brothers Financial Wellbeing Index 2019], in its simplest form, we must urgently address what keeps our employees awake at night.
Prior to COVID19, our financial wellbeing index showed that only 40% of employees felt prepared for ‘unexpected financial costs or a significant reduction in their income’. This is a worrying statistic given the current volume of furloughed employees and indeed, sadly those that face redundancy as we move businesses in to the recovery phase.
Whilst we continue to support our most valuable asset - our people, through this pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to use the insight gained, and allow ourselves some thinking time around our approach to the wellbeing of our people. Implementing action where necessary to ensure that financial education is given as much focus as that of physical, emotional and social to achieve a holistic approach moving forward.
To achieve maximum success, a financial education programme must be inclusive, accessible and multi-channel in both its communication method and learning styles.
An effective financial wellbeing programme can be measured against the following 5 key attributes:
- Diagnostic tool – Enabling employees to assess their own financial health, as well as supporting at employer level the areas of key risk, and employee groups who need specific help.
- End to end approach – Wellbeing cannot improve without a call to action. It is essential that a financial education programme not only helps employees to identify their needs, but also provides a solution when required.
- Inclusive and personalised – There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’, so an effective programme should be tailored to support career stages, lifestyle events and topic based needs. The use of push communications as part of the communication strategy proves particularly successful in driving engagement.
- Multi-media delivery – As the current environment proves, supporting employees remotely is now essential. Providing access to financial education 24/7 through a variety of different delivery mediums will help to drive engagement, but it is essential that this is also supported with a communication toolkit to promote the benefit, and increase engagement levels.
- MI and periodic reporting – Measuring the ROI of a wellbeing strategy can be challenging, however working with a provider that measures the effectiveness of the programme with quantitative and qualitative data will help demonstrate the ROI of the programme.