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Four steps to an engaging financial wellbeing strategy

Ongoing challenges of the cost of living mean financial concern is starting to feel like the norm, with financial resilience taking a notable downturn. Employers can play a pivotal role in shaping employee financial resilience, contributing so much more than just salary.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in. These articles are intended for employers and HR professionals, not for individual investors.

Financial anxieties are a big cost to businesses as they can result in employee absence and lower productivity. But employers can foster financial resilience in their workforce by implementing a holistic financial wellbeing strategy.

Clare Stinton, Head of Workplace Saving Analysis at HL, stresses the importance of combining workplace benefits with an effective financial wellbeing strategy to improve financial resilience.

Typically, larger employers will offer a more comprehensive benefits package and wider workplace financial education. This really helps to plug gaps in employee financial safety nets, without people having to put their hands into their own pockets, particularly at a time when money for many is tight.

According to our nationwide Barometer research, 44% of households where the main earner works for a large private-sector employer have ‘great’ financial resilience. This is compared to 28% of those working at small and medium-sized enterprises, and just 14% of self-employed households. This suggests that a good financial wellbeing strategy – combined with workplace benefits – can contribute towards a more financially confident and content workforce.

But how do you implement an engaging financial wellbeing strategy in the workplace? We’ve shared some tips to help.

Communicate clearly

Having a financial wellbeing strategy is futile if your employees don’t know about it. So how you communicate the strategy is really important.

The key is to deliver short, snappy messages that are jargon-free, making sure they’re easy to understand for every employee. It encourages your workforce to engage, as they’re not put off by overwhelming messaging to which they can’t relate.

It’s a good idea to employ a variety of mediums such as emails, intranet posts or user-friendly infographics. By recognising that not every employee will engage with the content in the same way, you increase the chance of capturing their attention.

Free food is another way of drumming up interest. Something as simple as a complimentary cake or slice of pizza invites people to get involved and learn more, with the ultimate goal of continued engagement as different sessions are rolled out. It may mean a slightly higher initial budget, but it will be less costly than having limited numbers turn up to your session.

Listen to your workforce

It’s important to recognise that financial resilience isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Your employees will have their attention piqued by different topics and at different times in life. So get their buy-in from day one by asking what they’d like to hear about.

An easy, low-cost way to do this is to send out a survey. Don’t overcomplicate it – keep it short and use the data readily available to you. What do your employees want to hear about over the coming months? You could provide some suggestions to get them started, like saving for a house deposit, retirement options or how to budget effectively.

You could then use employees’ responses to create a tailor-made strategy with which they’re far more likely to engage.

It’s also a good opportunity to find out if your employees’ workplace benefits still fit their needs. The cost-of-living crisis may have impacted their milestones or their workplace pension contributions, so it’s worth adding a question about benefits on the survey to gather an accurate picture of what your workforce needs from you.

And benefit providers may already offer financial wellbeing material or sessions, so you may readily have the opportunity within your remit – you just haven’t accessed it yet.

More on our Financial Wellbeing programme

Be in it together

Make sure you’re not going against the tide with your strategy by ensuring stakeholders are engaged with and aware of it. Speak to middle management to allow employees to take time out of their diaries to attend sessions or workshops.

To encourage their teams to take part, managers should also play an active role in flagging the surveys and sessions to them. They could perhaps run a team meeting focused on the financial wellbeing offering, or schedule a specific time in the day for colleagues to fill in the survey to improve response rate.

Make sure you keep financial wellbeing current in discussions. Communications should be clear, consistent and regular, rather a one-off email packed with information. It’s important to provide employees with ongoing support.

Financial wellbeing isn’t exclusive

If you work in a smaller company, it might feel too much of a stretch to implement a financial wellbeing strategy, perhaps due to a more limited budget or resource.

But you can still play a role in shaping the financial resilience of your employees by piggybacking off national campaigns, like Pension Wise, National Pension Tracing Day or Talk Money Week. A lot of the work will be done for you as regulated content is created – you just need to communicate it to your workforce. But make sure you do your due diligence on sources before signposting.

It’s still a good idea to understand what your employees want to learn about. But instead of starting from scratch and creating your own strategy and resources, you could perhaps curate an email series that links to requested topics. There are plenty of assets from regulated companies that you can signpost to your employees in different ways. And guiding them towards our Five to Thrive initiative will help to raise awareness about how important financial resilience is.

No company is too small to have a duty of care towards the financial wellbeing of their workforce. So it’s important to make sure you’re providing the right support, at the right time, in the right way.

This article is not personal advice. If you are unsure of a course of action, please ask about advice.

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Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in. These articles are intended for employers and HR professionals, not for individual investors.

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