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06 Nov 2018
by Damian Stancombe and Melissa Blissett

ACDC: how to avoid the highway to financial hell

In our last article, we looked at the ‘why’ and the evidence that financial wellbeing is fundamental to an organisation’s people strategy, engagement and, in part, solving the productivity puzzle.


So if you are embarking on the journey of financial wellbeing in the workplace, the ‘how’ and ‘what’ questions remain.

Emotional resonance is what we are trying to achieve to engage employees with their financial wellbeing – not cash plan modelling.

Creating emotional resonance

Songs create emotional impact and we drew inspiration from rock ‘n’ roll via Liverpool football team’s manager Jurgen Klopp to compose our ACDC model below. If you can just help your workers save that little bit and take away their financial stop signs, you could take them off the “highway to hell” and help them towards that goal of “livin’ easy, livin’ free” and they will be indebted to you.

So how do you get there rather than jumping straight to one of the plethora of branded products, simply to tick the financial wellbeing box? 









Find out more

Here’s our top tips for your “A” and “C”. Look out for our next articles which will look at how you can Deliver this and the HR metrics you can use to measure ROI to Check your strategy.


  • Conduct analysis – remember the old adage: “to assume makes an ass out of you and me”.
  • Layer up multiple sources of evidence to support good decision making.
    • Qualitative data, such as employee surveys, focus group discussions
    • Quantitative data, including organisational data eg attrition, absence records, EAP data
    • External benchmarking and big data, such as postcode, social indicators, household debt
    • Consultant insight
    • Legislation, including pending and proposed, and formal research
    • Your professional judgement, experience and intuition.
  • Engage with your workforce to embed success.
    • How will you communicate your survey, to ensure you receive responses across all cohorts, so that the strategy you develop is inclusive?
    • Consider carefully the questions in your survey – you may only have one opportunity to ask them. Questions should be segmented between issues they have today, tomorrow, and ‘one day’.
    • Capitalise on your staff forum as a starting point for in-depth insights via focus group sessions.
    • Independent consultants can be helpful here to encourage really open and honest dialogue. 
    • Work with employees in a transformational approach to define what “good financial wellbeing” will look like for your organisation.


  • Define your objectives and measures of success.
  • Integrate with wider objectives and strategies
    • For example, talent management and reward, employee engagement, absence management, productivity analysis
    • Knock on impact on wider wellbeing – mental and physical health
    • Alignment with your corporate values and branding.
  • Advocacy – who are your internal stakeholders, who will champion this?
  • Interpret your analysis.
    • What key stats, trends, risks and issues did you identify?
    • Can you quantify any costs implications?
    • Are any of your workplace policies causing financial pressure on employees?
  • Develop a framework.
    • Be inclusive – are your existing benefits and policies only benefiting certain cohorts?
    • How do you share profits fairly with employees, without over committing for the future?
    • Are there any internal policies you can tweak that will result in savings for employees? An obvious one is flexible working, which may mean an employee isn’t paying peak commuting fares. Perhaps it’s also worth looking at policies that effect life stages when we know financial resources are strained such as maternity/paternity leave.
    • Start thinking about potential solutions – education, policies, procedures, product to address today, tomorrow and one day issues.
  • Build a return on investment business case for financial wellbeing – what is the cost of not addressing this?

Music aside, financial freedom gives people real choice and empowers them to take control of their lives, and we know that this feeling of autonomy or being in control is central to engagement. Giving people the ability to stretch the utility of their hard earned £ is vital. But more next time…

And if you missed it, read our last blog: Financial wellbeing: fad or fundamental?

This article was written by Damian Stancombe, head of workplace health and wealth at Barnett Waddingham, and contributed to by Melissa Blissett, employee benefits consultant at Barnett Waddingham.

This article was provided by Barnett Waddingham.

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