As we move into 2020, it’s clear that employee wellbeing is a primary concern for employers around the world. Though generally, British companies are still falling short when it comes to improving wellbeing, forward-thinking businesses are putting increasingly creative measures in place to ensure their team feels supported and that they are in the right frame of mind to work. Switched-on business leaders are well aware of the link between increased wellbeing, engagement and productivity.
While a lot of attention has recently been paid to mental wellbeing, an area of wellbeing that isn’t receiving as much coverage is that of financial wellbeing. However, financial wellbeing has a significant impact on employee wellness and state-of-mind, as well as productivity and performance at work. The unfortunate reality is, modern employees are struggling with ongoing financial worries and obstacles in their private lives. The good news is, organisations are well-placed to help their employees in this area.
What is Financial Wellbeing?
Financial wellbeing describes a sense of security with regards to money. When you have enough money to meet your needs, you have a plan in place for your money and you can control your day-to-day finances, you have a healthy level of financial wellbeing.
If, on the other hand, money causes you anxiety and concern, you likely have poor levels of financial wellbeing. The same can be said if you have debts you can’t control and you aren’t fulfilling your financial goals.
Why Should Employers Care About Employee Financial Wellbeing?
It can be easy for private and personal boundaries to become blurred these days. It’s hard to know what questions to ask and when, particularly if you haven’t received the right training. For this reason, some employers draw a line at any involvement in employee private lives. But life isn’t that simple. Concerns about personal finances bleed over and have a very real impact on performance, productivity and engagement levels.
Poor financial wellbeing can result in stress and a lack of sleep for employees. It can impact their relationships with their loved ones and their enjoyment of everyday life.
For employers, poor financial wellbeing can lead to reduced productivity, a loss of talent and higher rates of absenteeism. Money worries can be a huge source of stress and distraction. 87% of millennials admit money worries affect them at work. For reasons such as these, it’s simply not good enough to turn a blind eye to financial wellness. Employers can, and should, step in and help address and alleviate levels of poor financial wellbeing within their organisations.
How to Improve Financial Wellbeing at Work
If you are looking to improve levels of financial wellbeing within your organisation, here are our top tips:
- Provide financial education services — Acknowledging the problem is a great first step, but employers need to go further and offer help to struggling employees. Employers should provide quality financial education in the workplace, including ongoing support, which will empower employees to make appropriate financial decisions at every stage of their career.
- Build financial wellbeing discussions into your company culture — As with most organisational change, shifts in attitude and culture start at the top. Senior leaders need to make it clear that at work, there are solutions and services in place to help employees improve their financial wellbeing. Encourage discussions relating to finance and give employees the opportunity to open up. Make the discussion less taboo and more open, and in time, employees will begin to open up communication. Once this happens, you are in a good place to make appropriate changes and to help employees achieve their financial goals.
- Offer different avenues for communication and education — Everyone learns differently. Some of us absorb information better online via online services, while some of us need face-to-face advice and discussion. Provide your team with different communication channels and multiple ways to access financial education.
- Financial advice needs to be tailored — Most of us manage a multigenerational workforce today. Your employees are all individuals. They have different needs, worries, priorities and frustrations. Some of your employees will be eager to buy their first home or pay off student debt. Some of your employees will be more concerned with ensuring their pensions are in place. In order to meaningfully improve financial wellbeing, employers need to tailor advice and get to know the needs of their employees.
- Measure improvements in financial wellbeing — In order to improve levels of financial wellbeing, these levels need to be measured and tracked over time. You need to determine which measures are helping, how employees are reacting to the advice given and what employees are feeding back. This information will help to tailor your approach, to improve your services in the future.
As the years move on, employee expectations change. With the unemployment rate being at a record low, top performers have a lot of choice when it comes to where they work and who they work for. These employees want to be part of a company that genuinely cares about them and their wellbeing. Show your employees you are loyal to them, that you are committed to helping them succeed at work and at home, and you will be repaid in turn with a dedicated, engaged and loyal team.