December 7 2021

How to promote financial wellbeing in your workplace

More than ever, companies are realising how important it is to promote financial wellbeing in the workplace. Financial wellness has become a key focus area for employers who are looking to create the ideal work environment. Let’s take a look at how you can promote financial wellbeing in your organisation with some practical tips.  

Financial wellbeing: Why should employers care?

The financial wellness of your employees can have a major impact on their performance at work. This is because feeling financially well means that employees are likely to be less stressed and more focused while at work. 

There is also a direct link between financial wellbeing and absenteeism.

Financially stressed employees are more likely to be absent than those who feel financially secure. 

It’s widely accepted that increased financial stress can have a negative impact on mental health. Money worries can lead to sleep problems, anxiety and depression. Over time, this can lead to long term absence from work.

Don’t know where to start? You’re not alone 

More and more HR teams are waking up to the potential business gains of promoting financial wellbeing at work. 

But what stops many of those teams from taking action to promote financial wellbeing is not lack of intention. It’s because they don’t know exactly how to do this and importantly, where to start. 

Your employees are financially stressed (but you probably don’t know it)

Employers believe that 88% of employees have money worries (Close Brothers’ Financial Wellbeing Index 2019). 

In fact, the same study revealed that 94% of employees admit to having money worries, and 77% of them say that it impacts their work performance. 

So some of your employees will be financially stressed, but most are far too afraid to admit this. This is because of something called ‘money shame’ and the fact that it’s still considered a taboo to talk about money. 

Planning your financial wellbeing strategy

One key thing to remember is that your financial wellbeing strategy needs to be specific to your workforce and your company. 

You need to consider the specific needs of your employees, and what your company wishes to achieve from a financial wellbeing strategy so that you stay on target. 

Consider these questions to help you get started:

  • What financial challenges are your employees facing? How can you address these with your strategy? 
  • Do you have a vision of how your strategy will look; what objectives will you work towards? 
  • Does your workforce respond better to online resources or Q&A sessions? 
  • What do your employees want and need from this strategy? Surveys are a useful tool for this part.
  • Have you defined the outcomes you want to achieve? 
  • How will you measure the success of your strategy, by gathering data before and after implementation? 

Designing your financial wellbeing strategy

Your planning has allowed you to discover what your financial wellbeing programme is going to achieve, but what exactly will it look like? How can you break these objectives down into actions you can work on? 

The key to designing your financial wellbeing strategy is to include your employees. Ultimately you are implementing this to benefit their financial wellness. So it makes sense that they are involved in the early stages. 

Here’s a few key areas your strategy may focus on:

Review your benefits and rewards package 

Besides pay, benefits have the potential to provide a lot of value to your employees. They rank pretty highly in terms of affecting a candidate’s decision to join a company.

Many employees have been adversely affected financially by the pandemic, so the benefits packaged you designed pre-COVID may not be what employees post-COVID really want or need. Flexibility has catapulted up employees’ agenda since the pandemic, so that’s a great place to start. 

How could you improve or expand your existing benefits package in ways that promote financial wellbeing? What benefits do your employees value the most? 

As well as introducing new benefits, you should revisit existing ones. A key area that’s worth redesigning is your company pension scheme to ensure that it offers your employees long-term security and stability. 

Target financial education 

It’s also vital to consider financial education as part of your financial wellbeing programme. Your company can address financial education in many ways:

  • Offering an online learning portal
  • Holding in-person seminars
  • Offering regular advice sessions with independent financial advisors
  • Giving advice that focuses on pensions or what health plans can offer
  • A detailed look at the effect of financial stress on mental health and what support is available 

Financial education is crucial for helping your employees build their financial resilience. Being financially resilient means being more able to cope with a financial shock because they have a plan in place to deal with this type of situation. This can help them avoid payday loans or other forms of harmful credit, and make money worries less likely to impact their work.  

Make sure that resources are readily available 

There are plenty of links and resources available that can assist your employees with financial stress. 

You can signpost your employees to organisations like National Debt Line and charities such as Money Helper and Step Change. They offer free, independent advice for budgeting, managing debt, and getting extra financial support. 

Normalise talking about money problems 

For your financial wellbeing programme to be a success, your workplace needs to normalise conversations around money and money challenges. 

Talking about money is still somewhat of a taboo. So this takes a real culture change and one that needs to be led from the top.

Some of the ways you can encourage employees to talk about their finances include running events in the workplace that are centred on financial wellbeing and resilience. You could also offer employees one to one interactions so that they can speak in a private environment.

The key here is to make communication as easy as possible. This means ensuring that there are plenty of channels to choose from such as:

  • Face to face
  • Phone
  • Chat platforms 
  • Mobile apps
  • Anonymous surveys  

See what works best for your employees and then do more of that. 

Communicating what’s on offer

Once you have designed your strategy to promote financial wellbeing, you need to ensure that your employees know about what’s on offer. 

To do this, you need to set aside resources for a communications strategy. Consider:

  • How new employees will gain information about what’s available
  • Using multiple forms of communication like newsletters, regular emails, discussions in team meetings, and posters to keep this fresh in people’s minds 
  • How you will ensure that there is a consistent message – buy in from all levels of your business is important for this
  • Use insights to highlight areas you need to communicate better on

Integrating your financial wellbeing strategy into your culture 

If you want your employees to improve their financial resilience then your financial wellbeing strategy needs to become part of your workplace culture. 

Encourage your employees to be involved and to embrace what’s available to them. Nominating financial wellbeing ‘champions’ is a great way to help key messages disseminate among your workforce.

Make time to review your financial wellbeing strategy

The needs of your employees are likely to change over time and your workforce may grow or contract. For these reasons, it’s important to carry out regular reviews of your financial wellbeing strategy to ensure that it still works.

Aside from dealing with changing needs, a review of your programme allows you to measure its success. Importantly, you can use data to decide where to make changes to improve areas of your strategy. 

How we can help

When it comes to boosting financial resilience and reducing financial stress, allowing employees to access their pay ahead of payday can be a real game-changer. 

On-demand pay allows employees to access a portion of their earnings when they want, instead of having to wait for their normal payday. It’s great for covering unexpected costs, like a broken boiler or car repair. 

Simply knowing they have access to their pay if they need it can help reduce financial stress among employees. 

If you would like to find out more about how on-demand pay can help promote financial wellbeing among your employees with zero cost to your business, please contact us.

The information in this article is for general information only. It does not constitute professional advice from Openwage. Openwage is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information in this document relates to your unique circumstances.