What can employers do to support financial wellbeing?
Employers are well-placed to take action on financial wellbeing. And it starts with ensuring that your organisation has a robust strategy in place for supporting financial wellbeing, integrating it into your wider health and wellbeing policies.
Encouragingly, our workplace wellbeing research with the CIPD found that 43% of organisations design their wellbeing activity to promote financial wellbeing to a large or moderate extent. But financial wellbeing is still the poor relation in many wellbeing strategies, with almost one quarter not taking it into account at all3.
There are five key areas that employers can focus on within their financial wellbeing strategy to help their people create and stick to a budget, keep track of spending and meet financial commitments:
1. Identify underlying causes: Help employees address the root of any financial issues. As different age groups have different financial priorities, a good starting point is to break the workforce down into segments.
2. Offer relevant support: Younger employees might find it useful to have matched savings in lieu of pension to pay off student loans or help with first home costs. Older employees preparing for retirement might need support with topping up their pension savings and adjusting budgets.
3. Encourage openness: Only 36% of employees feel comfortable talking about financial difficulties at work2. As you would with mental health, make it okay to talk about financial concerns, encouraging leaders across the organisation to share their own stories.
4. Communicate regularly: Make sure employees know what help is available to them through pay advances, hardship loans, travel loans, Employee Assistance Programmes, Save As You Earn schemes or financial education programmes. Even just reminding employees to make the best use of their employee discounts can help.
5. Provide effective signposts: Ensure line managers are fully equipped to help any employees who are struggling financially. Direct them towards Employee Assistance Programmes or external agencies such as the Money Advice Service, Step Change and Citizens Advice.