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15 Dec 2022
by Stacey Lowman

Is your benefits package beneficial to your workforce?

If your employees don't find your benefits useful, you might guilty of ‘wellbeing washing’

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A good workplace benefits package is the perfect way to show your company cares about its employees both at work and in life outside the office. But too many organisations offer benefits that are more like a gesture rather than delivering real value.

The term ‘wellbeing washing’ refers to a wellbeing strategy that advertises more than it delivers. On the surface, the benefits seem helpful and considerate, but dig a little deeper and it's clear their authenticity is marred by unhelpful, so-called, benefits. Unfortunately, these superficial rewards are becoming more widespread as companies compete for talent.

Act rather than react

Insurer Guardian Life lists the top two benefits trends emerging from 2022 as flexible working followed by improving workers’ mental and emotional health.

As a result of the pandemic, 48% of organisations are focusing on providing mental health support. It’s a step in the right direction and reacting to trends can produce short-term gains, but to provide longevity and resilience to your benefits strategy you need to act rather than react. It shouldn’t take an increase in mental health problems to add the strategy to your benefits package. The benefit could have been in place to help minimise the increase in problems in the first place.

Tackle the root of the problem

The effects of stress can be detrimental to our mental health. Claro Wellbeing’s Money and Mental Health report shows a clear correlation between levels of financial confidence and mental wellbeing.

Overall, average mental wellbeing scores drop by over 37% between those with high financial confidence to those with the lowest. The evidence suggests that the less confident you feel financially, the worse your mental wellbeing is likely to be.

Workplaces have the opportunity to tackle one of the main causes of stress in their employees, which, if left unaddressed, can have harmful consequences on their mental health.

Claro research has found that 43% of workers surveyed said that managing their money was their leading cause of financial stress. During a cost of living crisis, this is certain to heighten. Many companies are now taking mental wellbeing benefits seriously as a result, but strategies could have been implemented years ago, before the economic downturn.

The effects of acting sooner

By offering financial wellbeing benefits now, companies can reassure the 67% of staff who say financial stress affects their performance at work and the 69% who feel their employer should be doing more to support their personal finances. But could that percentage have been lower if the benefits were offered 5-10 years ago?

Eight in 10 said a financial wellbeing programme would increase their job satisfaction. In turn, productivity will increase, as up to 3.5 days a year per employee are spent managing personal finances.

The effects of improved financial literacy can also benefit the business, as newfound skills and confidence can be applied to everyday tasks, as well as employees feeling the mental wellbeing benefits of reduced stress.

What benefits one, may not benefit another

A well-rounded benefits package promotes success and growth in all aspects of life outside work. Whether that’s mental, physical or educational, it gives staff the chance to expand the mind or give it a break when desired. After all, a happy workforce is a productive one.

If your workplace benefits package isn’t well-rounded, it’s failing to offer much real-world value to your employees. For example, a ‘Pizza for lunch every Friday’ benefit may not appeal to everyone, especially if the food options aren’t flexible for for those with allergies or intolerances or other dietary requirements. A better approach would be a ‘Pick your own free lunch Friday’, so people can make their own decisions.

Fail to reassess? Reassess the failure

Developing a truly beneficial benefits package strategy is an ongoing process. Its success isn’t a one-off, it’s constantly evolving. By neglecting to speak to staff, you are omitting valuable input. Surveys and informal meetings can garner essential information about what’s going wrong and what’s going well.

A benefits package is only as good as its beneficiaries, so let them have their say.

In partnership with Claro Wellbeing

A financial wellbeing benefit to support your team where it matters most

Contact us today


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Why the little things may deliver more value than wholesale change
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