The importance of financial wellbeing

As an employer in the modern working environment, you are likely used to hearing about 'employee wellbeing' and 'mental health wellbeing' which have both been discussed at length in the media.

But 'financial wellbeing' or 'financial wellness' as a term in the workplace you may not be so familiar with. So what does it mean?

Employees who may have financial struggles outside of the workplace may be said to have poor financial wellbeing. These worries, whilst they may seem to be removed from the work environment, have the potential to have a significant impact on an employer and reason enough to take a closer look at what you could be doing to support your workforce better.

Generally speaking most people see their regular wage as having security. Employees who have personal money worries can be carrying a burden that can seriously impact their day to day lives, heightening their stress levels and affecting their general mental wellbeing and their ability to be at their best and perform as they usually would at work.

PwC carried out a financial wellness survey in 2017 and found that 53% of employees have money worries. That's a huge number, whether you are a large or small business. In addition to that, those with money worries are 4.9 times likely to become depressed and 8.8 times more likely to have problems sleeping.

So what could you do as an employer to provide support for your employees?

1. Money management advice

With 1 in 5 employees saying they would value some employer support in financial matters, it's a good opportunity to look into what local services you could signpost employees to for basic financial guidance and how to manage debt smarter if they are struggling to keep afloat.

Some employee assistance programmes are also set up to be able to offer some confidential support so if you have an EAP, give them a call to see if this is something they do offer and if so, promote this part of the service to employees. The EAP is likely to have posters and other material that you can use to help you to do this.

2. Employee Discount schemes

There is an array of reward and loyalty schemes out there for employers to register with to qualify for discounts and offers to pass on to employees, so it's worth looking at. Many of these are for online retailers and are often popular.

Whilst some schemes may sound great to you, ask your employees what sort of scheme would be of interest, and more importantly, of value to them. Taking the time to understand this will make the scheme and benefit to your employees even greater.

3. Salary sacrifice schemes

Typically these include pension contributions, childcare voucher schemes, cycle to work initiatives, and all over tax friendly incentives to UK based employees. Again there are lots of providers, so do some research into what could work best for your business and employees.

4. Pension schemes

Pensions are an obvious one maybe when talking finances, but a lot of younger employees often choose to trade off having extra cash in their pocket each month now over saving for the future and opt out of auto enrolment. Let's face it pensions aren't sexy, but you can make them more attractive by considering offering higher employer contributions rather than the statutory minimum requirement each month. A lot of employers also offer pension advice through their scheme so that employees, particularly the younger demographic, really understand the benefits of paying into a pension now and what this means for their future.

5. Workplace savings schemes

There are a number of workplace savings schemes out there on the financial market including Save As you Earn (SAYE), Share Incentive Plans (SIPS) and Workplace ISAs.

The schemes all work slightly differently but ultimately all have the ability to encourage employees to start saving and give you as the employer tax breaks.

If you do decide that there would be an appetite for a workplace saving schemes within your business, there's some great information on the Money Advice Service site that you can check out here:

Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.

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