Case study: How Simplyhealth improved financial wellbeing for all of its workforce
Everyone can be touched by financial worries at some point in their lives. And everyone has financial wellbeing. Several sources identify the unmistakable link between financial wellbeing and mental health. The latest CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work report (2019) reveals a quarter of respondents believe poor financial wellbeing is a significant cause of stress in their organisation. Yet, just one in 10 take a strategic approach to financial wellbeing, taking into account the needs of different employee groups.
The Simplyhealth story
At the beginning of 2018, Simplyhealth invested £1 million to offer a highly competitive and flexible employee benefits package to all its employees. Many of these benefits are designed to support financial wellbeing; helping colleagues make the right financial decisions, and making their pay go further.
Here, Fred Dobson, reward & benefits specialist at Simplyhealth, explains more about these benefits and how they have helped improve financial wellbeing for the whole workforce.
‘Investing in Future’
Our investment in our people includes a ground-breaking benefit called ‘Investing in Future’. This allows our colleagues to use some of their pension contributions for what is right for them at the time.
To meet contribution levels set by government, Simplyhealth pays 6% and employees contribute 2%. When they top this up to 10% (by putting in another 2%), another 4% becomes unlocked. This amount can be put towards paying off a student loan, saving for a first home, or topping up their pension. This really allows our colleagues to tailor their package to their current life stage priorities.
With the pension itself, we’ve reached almost full take-up across the workforce, and we’re aiming to get the number up to 99% by October this year, bringing previously opted-out colleagues back into the scheme.
Savings and loans
We also offer workplace savings and loans to our colleagues. This helps people take control of their finances, whether they are struggling with debt, or want to make saving easier. The service provides access to better interest rates than typical high street options.
The loans in particular can have a big impact on those who might be facing financial worries. The average interest saved over the duration of a loan is £763 and the average loan value is £2.2k. This makes a massive difference to colleagues who may have been in financial difficulty. To create better habits, once loans are fully paid they are automatically switched to savings accounts.
Our online financial education portal provides information on the pension scheme, loans and savings, and guidance for understanding tax and the P11D statement. Crucially, the portal also signposts colleagues to further advice, such as our employee assistance programme and where to find a trained financial advisor.
Every year our pension provider hosts pension seminars to help our colleagues better understand the pension scheme. And this September, we are planning a Financial Wellness Week to raise awareness of financial wellbeing and what help is available.
Our discounts platform is a popular choice for many. Through our provider, we offer access to a wide range of exclusive discounts from around 800 retailers. We have an average £50k monthly spend on the platform, and employees make savings of around £5k each month – roughly a 10% saving.
We also offer a range of local discounts for a number of retailers and restaurants, which help support local businesses and communities. On top of this, we offer discounts on our products to our colleagues’ family and friends, improving their access to healthcare.
Colleagues also have the option to use a wellness or further learning fund, allowing them to claim back money towards various wellbeing initiatives. This could include things like a gym membership, new sports equipment, dance classes or even swimming lessons for children. It can also be put towards further learning, such as learning a new language, driving lessons or art classes. This fund can take away some of the stress employees face of being able to afford to get out and do extra things for themselves and their families.
Our workforce also benefit from our own products. People can choose between the Optimise health plan and a dental plan. Looking after health can be expensive, and the health cash plans help our staff to do it in a cost-effective way, claiming money back towards healthcare; visits to the optician or dentist, physiotherapy treatments, and more.
Financial wellbeing for all
Wellbeing is at the heart of what we do at Simplyhealth. It’s central to the solutions we provide to our clients and customers. And it’s the foundation of how we look after our colleagues. Financial wellbeing plays an important part within our wellbeing strategy, and the employee benefits we offer aim to positively impact financial wellbeing across the entire workforce.
More ideas for supporting financial wellbeing
For other organisations looking to improve financial wellbeing, we have created a helpful guide to designing a financial wellbeing strategy that enables people to take practical steps to get in control of their finances.
This article is provided by Simplyhealth.
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