How to Offer Effective Financial Wellbeing Support to Your Teams

Summary:

How can employee financial wellbeing benefit your business?

Is it more than just a good salary?

What you can do to help


How to Offer Effective Financial Wellbeing Support to Your Teams

It’s no secret that we’re all feeling the pinch at the moment.

The UK inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose to 9.4% in July 2022—a 40-year high.

Worrying about money is one of the biggest drivers of stress in UK adults, but financial strain doesn’t just affect us at home, it has a big impact on us at work too. Studies have shown a clear link between money worries and employee performance, with anxiety over finances found to increase absenteeism by 41%, reduce employee engagement and significantly impact productivity.

With this in mind, it’s not in your organisation’s interest to ignore the current Cost of Living crisis—but what financial wellbeing support can you offer?

How can employee financial wellbeing benefit your business?

Here at Sodexo Engage we define employee wellbeing as being made up of three pillars: mental, physical and financial. If any one of these pillars is damaged, everything else can fall down.

Poor financial wellbeing, specifically the stress that results from it, has been shown to impact both mental and physical wellbeing—and this is an employee engagement killer.

Conversely, the benefit to organisation’s willing to prioritise financial wellbeing support is increased engagement, and all the advantages that comes with it.


Is it more than just a good salary?

An employer is uniquely placed to support their workforce’s financial wellbeing, because it’s the employer that likely provides the worker with the majority of their income.

However, it’s not just about providing a good salary.

A report by BDO UK into pay and rewards found that higher pay only increased job satisfaction for employees who are ‘extrinsically motivated’. And there are other things you can do as an employer to help your entire workforce’s salary go further…

What you can do to help

So what can you do as an employer to support your workforce?

Ensure you have a financial wellbeing policy in place

The first thing you need to do is put in place a clear financial wellbeing policy that is rolled out across the entire organisation. Formalising your financial wellbeing offering into a set policy will help to ensure fairness and consistency across the business, and make training and communication easier.

The starting point should be understanding what kinds of financial issues affecting your workforce.

These will vary for each employee depending on stage of life, work stability and financial literacy. For example Generation X employees might be looking ahead to their retirement, while Millennials are thinking about buying their first home or starting a family.

With this in mind, your financial wellbeing support offering needs to cater for a wide range of needs and goals.

Encourage your employees to be open about money worries

Money can be a tricky thing to talk about at the best of times, but especially when we’re worried about our finances.

However, creating an environment where your staff feel comfortable talking about when they’re struggling with their wellbeing, including financially, will allow you to stay on top of the problem and also gain valuable feedback on the efficacy of your financial wellbeing offering.

Train managers to ask about wellbeing during 1-to-1s and other check-ins, and create other work communication and events around the subject of mental and financial wellbeing.

However, some employees will always prefer confidential and independent support. An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is an ideal solution for this. For example, our EAP provides 24/7 support provided by counsellors that are fully accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Review salaries and expenses often

We’ve discussed how salary isn’t everything, but it is still a key element of financial wellbeing, which means you need to review salaries often—and be mindful of expenses.

Make sure you’re up to date with the average salary ranges for each position and ensure you’re at least paying employees within that range. Of course if you want to retain your top talent, you’ll need to do more than the bare minimum. ‘Fairness’ means a lot to your employees, and the BDO UK report we mentioned earlier also found that knowing that their salary is in line with their peers and that the remuneration decision process is fair increased an employee’s job satisfaction.

If members of your workforce are frequently required to pay for things like hotels, electronics and office supplies, this could also impact their financial wellbeing. Try to avoid putting the burden of these expenses onto your employees and, if you do reimburse for expenses, make sure you do so in a timely manner.

Point them towards professional help and guidance

The founder of Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, frequently calls for financial education to be included in the national curriculum, while a 2017 study found that more than 9/10 UK adults (91%) hadn’t accessed financial advice in the previous 12 months.

It’s something your employees will value too, with one in five workers saying they’d value broader financial guidance, debt management and counselling if they were struggling with money worries.

Offer benefits and perks through a financial wellbeing programme

The Cost of Living crisis is putting pressure on households across the UK, and people won’t be able to spend money on the things that make them happy as much as before.

Offering benefits and perks through a financial wellbeing programme will help their salary to go further, and help to increase employee engagement.

Our Boost Hub is designed to help organisations directly support their employees’ financial wellbeing. We offer a wide range of financial wellbeing solutions, including:

  • Prepaid cashback card—your employees earn up to 15% cashback at almost 60 retailers, including on the weekly grocery shop.
  • Cycle to work scheme—our excellent cycle to work scheme, in partnership with Halfords, will help your employees save money on the weekly commute as well as between 33.25% and 43.25% on tax and National Insurance Contributions.

We’ve been helping organisations to support the financial wellbeing of their employees for decades, and we can offer a number of other products, in addition to our Boost Hub, that will engage your teams and help their money go further.

To find out more about our employee benefits platform, rewards and recognition platform, and salary sacrifice schemes, get in touch with the team at Sodexo Engage today. Your dedicated account manager will work with you to identify the ideal solution for your needs and help you to ensure the rollout is a success.