Every HR person should now be well-versed with the term 'employee financial wellbeing'. Many propositions have popped up over the years, promising useful links and helplines to help employees manage their finances. It's come to the point where there's now a spectrum of offerings on the financial wellbeing scale, but it’s important to note that not all were created equal.
Anyone can tell you that the stale words ‘debt’, 'pensions' and 'investments' really don't spark the interest of the average person. But most financial wellbeing propositions are geared around these areas, it’s fine for those who are financially savvy but what about the majority who aren’t? This majority is excluded from bettering their financial situation, just because (through no fault of their own) they don’t have the previous knowledge or initial motivation to start with.
First, we need to acknowledge that everyone has different needs and motivations when it comes to their finances. Some will be trying to get by each month and others are trying to realise their full potential or planning for the future without undue stress.
It’s now time however, to turn this all on its head; putting a person’s hopes and aspirations at the centre of their financial wellbeing.
The term that we prefer to use is 'financial engagement'; it's all about evoking people to think more about their future lifestyle and less about the abstract 'money pot'. It isn’t ‘how much do you need in retirement?’ but ‘What do you want to do when you retire?’. It isn’t ‘how much do you want to save each month?’ but ‘Where do you want to go on holiday and when?’.
Our digital financial expert, MyEva, begins by helping employees with the financial essentials, so they have the right foundations in place to achieve their lifestyle goals. For some, this could mean starting to save into an emergency savings pot or paying a little bit more into their workplace pension each month. For others, it might mean they need to focus on prioritising their debts and minimising late payments.
There’s also a real-life financial advice team to help employees who have more complicated requirements, because sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone.
‘Financial Wellbeing’ is often seen as just for those most in need, but financial engagement is inclusive – there for everyone regardless of status, earnings or situation – whenever they need it, and for the long term.
Is your workforce engaged with its finances? It’s not just about keeping one’s head above water, it’s about giving people the confidence and tools to make a real difference to their future lifestyle, whether that’s paying off the credit card debt, being able to spend more time with the grandkids or being able to afford that holiday of a lifetime.
With 22% of employees saying that their financial situation is causing them stress and impacting on their work productivity, it’s about time that employers help to tackle this much-needed area.
If you'd like to know more about a financial engagement offering for your employees, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.