Stella Chaplin of Atkins explains how to get started with your financial wellbeing strategy
With the current degree of economic turbulence, employers’ financial wellbeing strategy has been thrown to the fore. Often the forgotten relation of its physical, mental and social wellbeing cousins, today’s cost of living crisis has placed it front and centre, and left many organisations wondering where to start.
Atkins’ director, pensions and benefits, UK and Europe, Stella Chaplin, shared some ideas in our recent webinar – Developing a joined up financial wellbeing strategy: How to ensure relevance and employee engagement during tough economic times, supported by WEALTH at work.
Here are some of her pointers for those looking to add a financial wellbeing strategy to their company stable.
Check your current offering
Look at what you already provide. You probably have an employee assistance programme (EAP), as well as benefits such as cycle to work and discount portals. Chaplin urges employers to check: What is the uptake on these schemes? Do your workforce know they exist? And are they taking full advantage of them? It’s entirely possible that employees don’t realise the value of the benefits already on offer to them.
Educate and communicate
It can be hard to equip your employees with all the information needed on this topic without appearing patronising. Chaplin says that you should create a structure that is built around tools, education, guidance and advice, providing employees with the means to support themselves. In many cases, this support strategy will be all that they need, which makes it a clever deployment of costs and resources.
Atkins recently carried out a wellbeing survey to gauge awareness of its current offering, and were surprised to discover that around half of its population were unaware of all the tools that were available to them. Chaplin believes that it’s about communicating effectively with these people, assessing their needs, and supporting them in making decisions and meeting the challenges that lie in their paths.
Also, you need to be smart about the firms that you work with, and make sure that you are checking for hidden tools and services within their offerings that can be leveraged. Chaplin notes that these additional tools and services can be very useful, and sometimes even free! When you’ve got a tight budget, it’s being astute about where funds are deployed.
Back to basics
The Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service both provide some really good tools (although, it can be as simple as just pen and paper!). Budgeting might be seen as boring, but it is key to staying on track with expenses and debt, and providing stability through possible changes of circumstance.
Atkins provides a financial wellbeing session for graduates and apprentices, focusing education on these key points, and ensuring that employees know they should be checking their payslips and their tax codes – can they tell if they’ve been paid correctly? Have they done any overtime they need to look out for?
Chaplin explains that delving into the profile of your employee base and their financial literacy will help you gain a better understanding of the personal finance needs of your workforce, so that you can tailor your financial wellbeing strategy accordingly.