` No financial wellbeing? No problem – the essential guide to getting started | Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA)
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18 Jul 2019
by Tracey Ward

No financial wellbeing? No problem – the essential guide to getting started

It’s no secret that employers have often overlooked financial wellbeing, preferring to offer physical and emotional wellbeing support instead. But financial wellbeing has moved up the business agenda in recent years.

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According to Close Brothers’ Financial Wellbeing Index (2019), 52% of companies now have a financial wellbeing strategy, and another 27% plan to implement one within the next three years.

Reasons for this shift include recognising and understanding the extent to which employees’ money worries – identified as the biggest source of stress for UK employees by the CIPD in its Employee Outlook: focus on commuting and flexible working (2016) report – can affect organisations’ bottom line.

“You can’t leave financial challenges at home,” said David Walker, Head of Commercial at financial benefits provider Neyber.

“Offering a financial wellness platform can therefore have a big positive impact, and not just on productivity,” he said. “When London’s City Airport implemented a financial wellbeing strategy, the number of workplace accidents went down simply because its employees were better able to concentrate.”

So how should you start offering financial wellbeing services?

We asked the Generali Wellbeing Investment Matching Partners for Financial Education to break the process down into four stages to help you decide:

Stage one: know your workforce

The good news if you are thinking about offering financial wellbeing services is that your employees are likely to welcome the support. Around six in 10 workers would be keen to receive financial guidance from their employer, according to CIPD’s Employee financial well-being: why it’s important (2017) research report.

One of the best ways to maximise engagement is to research what services employees need the most.

Peter Briffett, Chief Executive at fintech benefit provider Wagestream, said: “Building financial wellness is about investigating what employees want, as well as understanding which tools will empower them.”

Ways to do this include asking employees to complete a benefits survey or looking at what percentage only pay the minimum into their workplace pension pot.

Stage two: create a financial wellness hub

Giving employees access to information and advice is at the core of any financial wellbeing programme. So setting up an online hub is a good place to start.

This doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise, as the cost of offering your employees access to an online financial wellness hub has come down significantly in recent years.

“Promoting financial wellbeing is relatively inexpensive and can give you a big return on your investment,” commented Jeanette Makings, Head of Financial Education Services at Close Brothers.

Talk to financial benefits providers to find out more about the options available to you.

Stage three: build awareness

For people to benefit from any workplace services, they need to know they are there. So, a comprehensive communications programme is essential – both before and at launch.

“The extent to which employees engage with a financial wellbeing programme depends, above all, on the way it is communicated,” said Briffett. You can then build on this in a variety of ways.

“Email nudges are a good way to keep people engaged,” explained Makings. “You could, for example, send out one explaining how to set up a budget at the beginning of the year. Other options include roadshows, competitions and poster campaigns.”

Stage four: tailor your services

Employees will only take advantage of financial wellbeing services if they match up with their individual needs. So, use the data provided by engagement in your programme to mould it accordingly.

“If you can get employees to do a financial health check, you can get some topline figures that will allow you to tailor your services and communications to their needs,” said Walker.

Remember too that the most suitable type of support will depend on the issue it aims to address.

“Retirement planning, for example, is a very complex area that lends itself well to face-to-face support,” said Makings. “But for many topics, short, easy-to-digest podcasts can work very well.”

The author is Tracey Ward, head of business development and marketing, Generali UK Employee Benefits.

This article is provided by Generali UK Employee Benefits.

In partnership with Generali UK Branch

Generali UK provides insurance solutions to the UK employees of multinational clients.

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