Time to talk money with your employees
Posted on: Wednesday November 10, 2021
It’s Talk Money Week! Held each November, the big idea is to encourage people to have more open conversations about money. In particular, the connection between financial wellbeing and mental health, in an effort bring these discussions into the mainstream and normalise conversations about money.
This is an opportunity to broaden the conversation and promote better financial wellbeing among your workforce.
Why should employers get involved?
Presenteeism - where employees are at work but aren’t functioning at 100% because of health or other issues – is a widespread problem. Furthermore, financial stress is a key cause of this productivity drop, with one in four UK workers reporting to the CIPD that money worries have affected their ability to do their job.
As financial stress can affect both employees’ work and personal lives, employers are fully justified in offering support with financial wellness. Far from treating employees’ finances as a purely private matter, employers are waking up to the fact that they can and should offer greater support. We’ve started to see this with benefits packages and stakeholder pensions – financial wellbeing is the logical next step.
What can employers do to promote financial wellbeing?
With financial worries intrinsically linked to mental health and subsequent employee performance, employers can play a critical role in helping their employees to talk about, overcome or even prevent some of their financial worries.
Employers would benefit from recognising the extent of the challenge facing their workforce. It’s in employers’ interests to support people so they can continue performing at their best, by offering help before money problems become unmanageable.
This early intervention approach is key to financial wellness. By pursuing a strategic rather than reactive approach, you are giving your workforce the best chance of remaining healthy and productive, even in exceptional circumstances.
Financial wellbeing ideas
It’s worth saying that financial wellbeing isn’t just about how much money people have. It’s about the control that they feel they have over their finances, and the skills and capability people have to manage their money.
Employers have a key role to play here. They can enable employees to make informed decisions, as well as help them feel more in control of their finances. Organisations can help their staff through signposting them to relevant guidance, information and support, as well as providing this themselves, either directly and/or through a trusted partner. For example, you could offer webinars or conferences, clinics, 1:1 financial mentoring, support groups, assessments and budgeting advice.
Let your workforce know that they can get free, confidential and independent money and debt advice from the government’s Money and Pensions Service. There are a number of charities and free organisations which can help work out the next steps; signpost employees towards the Money Advice Service’s tool to find the free debt advice providers and local services.
If you offer an Employee Assistance Programme, consider promoting this as somewhere to go for debt advice or mental health concerns around money worries. Personal Group’s Hapi-life channel also has articles on financial wellbeing which you can share with staff.
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