There is something of a consensus that financial stresses and strains can have a hugely negative impact on employee wellbeing, as well as knock on effects in terms of their engagement, motivation and productivity in the workplace. Yet according to research more needs to be done by employers to provide support in this area. So what steps can employers take to introduce employee financial wellbeing to a global workforce?
1. Cater to different groups and demographics
The starting point of any programme should be to determine the best fit for the culture and demographic of your workforce. If you’re a global organisation it’s likely this will be diverse, so consider a multi-channel, multi-benefit approach.
Ultimately employers must spend the time to understand the needs of their employees, both from a financial and lifestyle perspective. If their workforce is financially affluent and well rewarded, then the opportunity to seek financial advice and plan for the future is very appealing. At the other end of the spectrum, lower income employees may be more appreciative of efforts to make their salary go further with offers and discounts.
2. Support your strategy with employee benefits
Employers can do a lot by offering employee benefits that help support financial wellbeing. Whether it’s help with the weekly shop, vouchers for lifestyle-related goods and services or discounted tickets to the latest music events, employee discount schemes are a great place to start. They’re simple to implement and can easily be tailored or packaged in a bespoke way to encourage engagement and offer a range of money saving opportunities.
On top of this, offering a lifestyle benefits and concierge service is an increasingly popular way to support your staff’s finances. Many assume that concierge services are the preserve of high-flying City executives who require a dedicated team to assist them with everything from bespoke holiday planning to organising a cleaner. In fact, they are for everyone, acting as a practical way to help your employees save time and money. Booking travel, flights, and making holiday arrangements can be time-consuming. By offering a telephone concierge service, with dedicated representatives looking out for the best deals, you can take the hassle out of the process for your employees and save them money.
3. Work to change behaviours
Employers should go above and beyond things like pensions and debt management to provide support around finances that will have a long-term impact in employee lives. Changing behaviours and habits forms a key part of this activity and this often comes down to education.
Education should focus on helping people at all levels better understand budgeting, childcare, debt, travel money and wedding planning and can be integrated with other money saving benefits as part of a broader package.
The best financial education strategies are segmented and personalised, both in terms of the subject matter (e.g. content may focus on paying off student debt for graduates, or becoming a parent for those a generation older) and also in how they are delivered (interactive tools and apps, financial education seminars or one-to-one coaching).
4. Go digital
Communication and access are some of the biggest challenges for global employers and taking a digital approach to your financial wellbeing strategy can pay dividends in ensuring that what you are doing caters for a wide range of employees in different locations.
The digital approach can also allow you to do some innovative and interesting things. We have worked with a number of employers who have chosen to have a dedicated wellbeing online portal, of which financial wellness is important aspect, whereby they provide access to different related benefits (salary sacrifice, voluntary benefits and concierge) alongside information and guidance on financial wellbeing related topics – essentially tying all of the different aspects we have discussed above, into one easily accessible hub. Other innovative tech-led approaches that have been written about include those that link to payroll and provide financial advice based in individual’s circumstances.
With developments like gamification also top of the agenda for many forward-thinking employee engagement specialists, the digital approach clearly opens doors for further experimentation and innovation around the delivery of financial wellness support.
Would you like to find out more about how you can use employee benefits to support your team’s financial wellness? Get a demo with one of Xexec's Engagement Specialists.