Support your employees to secure better financial wellbeing
The pressing issue of the cost of living in the UK has been increasing and continues to do so. This has had a negative impact on the well-being of millions of workers across the UK, causing heightened stress and anxiety as they struggle to make ends meet.
The impact of poor employee financial wellbeing
13 million workdays have been lost due to employees taking time off work to deal with financial issues, resulting in lost productivity and additional expenses for businesses. On the other hand, financial stress can also lead to presenteeism, which is when employees come to work but are not fully productive due to their personal issues. One in five employees admits to a drop in productivity due to financial issues in the last two years. According to research, it can cost employers up to 17% of their salary costs.
The issue of financial well-being in the workplace is becoming increasingly important, yet studies suggest that many employers are failing to address this issue. The CIPD Reward Management Survey of 2022 revealed that only 18% of employers have an employee financial well-being policy in place.
37% of employees feel less loyal towards employers that don’t have a policy in place to support their financial wellbeing, which means businesses could face increased turnover.
As an employer, you may already have practices in place that support your employees’ financial wellbeing, beyond just fair wages. And this may have had positive results like increased productivity, higher retention and an overall healthy workforce!
Here are a few more ways you can help employees alleviate financial stress and encourage a healthy financial lifestyle.
How can you create a happier, financially healthier, and more productive workforce?
Employee discounts and perks: Who doesn’t love a good deal? Providing employees with discounts or perks can help them save money on everyday expenses. You could partner with a local gym to offer discounted memberships, offer employees free or discounted meals on-site. As a healthcare partner, Benenden Health also gives employees access to supermarket discounts, cinema rewards and more, which helps employers prioritise financial wellbeing for their workforce.
Offering flexible working arrangements: Offering flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or flexible scheduling, to help employees save money on transportation or childcare expenses can provide employees with more financial stability and reduce stress in the short term. According to a study by the UK Office for National Statistics, remote workers save an average of £44.78 per week on commuting costs and other work-related expenses.
Provide access to financial counselling: Financial wellbeing isn't just about having more money. It's about having the peace of mind, freedom and control of your finances to live the life you want.
According to a survey by PwC, nearly one-third of employees say that financial concerns cause them the most stress. Partnering with financial counsellors or providing access to financial management tools can help employees develop a budget, pay off debt, and manage other financial concerns, which in turn could see increased focus and a less stressed workforce.
Fostering a supportive environment: According to a survey by PwC, 41% of employees are uncomfortable discussing financial concerns with their employer.
Creating a culture of openness and encouraging employees to communicate any financial concerns they may have can help reduce financial stress - whether that’s incorporated in review meetings to check in on employees’ financial wellbeing by line managers or letting all employees know that the door is open to discuss these matters without judgement to see how you can support.
Providing a dedicated contact person or department that employees can get in touch with for support regarding their well-being could also be beneficial to remove the anxiety of approaching a colleague.
Health and wellness workshops: Health and wellness programs can have a positive impact on both physical and financial health. Financial worries may be a major cause of stress and anxiety for employees and implementation of wellness initiatives can aid these issues. Consider offering health and wellness programs, such as yoga classes or stress management workshops, to help employees manage their stress levels and improve their overall well-being.
Employee loans or salary sacrifice: In some cases, employees may need access to short-term loans to cover unexpected expenses or bridge a gap between paychecks. Offering employee loans with low interest rates or flexible repayment terms in these situations could really go a long way in reducing their financial concerns. Plus, it demonstrates that your employees’ wellbeing is your priority.
Salary sacrifice options also have potential, where employees may choose to sacrifice a portion of their salary to gain benefits such as childcare vouchers, gym memberships, or health insurance. Additionally, the opportunity to purchase discounted technology or bikes can enhance work-life balance and overall job satisfaction.
Weaving financial health and a well-being strategy into your business policies is an important measure. Our comprehensive Financial Well-Being Guide for Business is designed to keep in mind the daily challenges that employees face while teaching you how you can proactively lend a helping hand.
For more information on how to better look after your employees’ wellbeing, head over to our mental health workplace hub. You can also find out how to keep your workforce happy and healthy by signing up to our employee engagement newsletter.