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How to keep employees financially healthy

David Price

Q: I am in the process of building a wellbeing strategy for my business. Of late, I am hearing a lot about encouraging financial wellness in the workplace. I want to ensure that I am playing my part in helping employees who face financial challenges, but how can I go about this?

A: Financial wellbeing is often a crucial part of an employee’s overall wellbeing. Being financially healthy and secure can give employees a positive outlook on the future.

Financial challenges can have a pertinent impact on organisations and their employees. The association between financial stress and an employee’s overall wellbeing is undeniable. The stress that is linked to financial worries can affect productivity and employee performance in the workplace. Financial challenges can affect an employee’s ability to remain focused on their workload, as financial concerns can hinder concentration significantly. Another possible concern for employers is absenteeism resulting from financial stress, as the cost of ill health in the work place is high.

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It is important that an organisation provides financial education and support to their employees to improve financial wellness. Financial wellness can help drive employee productivity, engagement, satisfaction and motivation.

Financial benefits show employees that the organisation cares for them as individuals, boosting motivation and loyalty. It is crucial to create awareness and educate employees about the benefits available to them to ensure they are utilising and taking full advantage of them. Offering a level of coverage that extends to dependents may enhance the effect of the benefit, but this needs to be balanced with budget realities. Various voluntary benefits can be made available to employees, including high street discounts, travel discounts and gym membership deals. Salary sacrifice benefits can include childcare vouchers and cycle to work schemes.

Offering access to an employee wellness programme can provide a point of contact for managers to refer to so that employees can alleviate financial stresses through avenues, including counselling and practical advice. These programmes should have dedicated lines to refer employees to debt organisations who offer impartial, expert tailored advice, such as Step Change. With this in place, employees are more likely to address financial concerns earlier and resolve them before they begin to impact performance and attendance.

Offering a range of generous pension scheme plans can help employees build financial resilience and ultimately gain financial security for retirement. Employers can take an active part in educating employees on the organisation’s pension plan to ensure they make the right decisions and save sufficient finances for retirement.

A well-planned and successfully executed financial wellness programme can ultimately have a positive ripple effect for employers and employees. It is important to measure participation, improvements and outcomes to understand how results can be optimised.