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We are increasingly discussing the importance of a rounded approach to wellbeing at work and the link between productivity and health. There has been exponential growth in workplace wellbeing investment which is finding its way onto the C-Suite’s agenda. Mental, physical, financial and emotional health are all essential for individuals to reach their potential and deliver the organisation’s vision. Even an employee who is receiving a substantial wage can suffer from poor financial wellbeing if they have made misinformed investment decisions or if they do not feel that they are being fairly rewarded.

Financial wellbeing and mental health

Our recent HR Groups across all sectors highlighted the increasing importance of financial wellbeing to employees’ health and stress levels. The Money Advice Service found that over 16 million people in the UK have less than £100 in savings and according to YouGov, 78 per cent of employees believe that having a savings nest egg would ease their everyday stress levels. Financial guidance from an employer is increasingly critical in the recruitment and retention of employees who value this proactive support.

The first article in our two-part series around our upcoming ‘Rewarding You’ seminar on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace explores five key steps that employers can take to help employees address their financial concerns.

1

Balance long and short term benefits

We advocate a holistic approach to reward and benefits and fine tuning each element. Pay and benefits is an essential hurdle employers need to satisfy to unlock other motivators in the workplace. Only one third of respondents to our UK Reward Management Survey said that they operate LTIPs, whilst two thirds said that bonus levels are unlikely to change. Longer-term benefits are being balanced with the immediate rewards of competitive pay and benefits, where in fact loyalty no longer equates to larger pay packets. Two thirds of respondents offered new recruits salaries that conflicted with those paid to existing employees, with one quarter offering up to 20 per cent more.

2

Assess the value of benefits in kind

There is a renewed focus on the immediate recognition that benefits provide to employees and the appreciation that tangible benefits communicates. We are increasingly being asked about benefits in kind. Businesses are assessing their company car policies in particular, considering what models of car to offer and balancing this against whether to offer cash. The sheer range of benefits that an organization can offer to employees is limitless. Our UK Reward Management Survey closed last week and 68% of employers have taken the opportunity to review whether they are fit for purpose in the last 12 months. This renewed focus on keeping benefits packages competitive is an essential tool in promoting employees’ sense of financial wellbeing that they are deriving from work.

3

Ask your employees

Considering whether your employees will truly care and appreciate the benefits on offer is critical to creating the right benefits package. Asking employees about the benefits that would both improve their experiences at work and their financial wellbeing is key to defining a benefits package that resonates. This also demonstrates to your employees that that they are listened to and that you value their opinion. We are seeing more traditional sectors such as Construction and Associates and Institutes who traditionally placed emphasis on cash, base salary and allowances realising that they need to be more flexible and offer wider benefits such as volunteering days and access to financial advice which are valuable to employees.

4

Communicate the full pay and reward package

The key advantage of a Total Reward Statement is that it outlines all tangible benefits to employees. The initiatives currently offered to employees linked to financial wellbeing will vary in importance for different employee groups. Using Total Reward Statements enables you to provide a snapshot of basic salary, pension, bonuses and both the tangible and intangible benefits that shows every element of the reward package on offer.

5

Provide access to financial advice

Ongoing support received by employees is essential in supporting their psychological wellbeing, reducing anxiety levels, driving down sick days and boosting job performance. Providing employees with access to financial information, guidance and advice in the workplace can be provided in a variety of ways: information packs, online tools, training seminars, webinars, benefits portals or email communications.  This equips employees with the right knowledge about loans, pensions, saving schemes, money management, salary sacrifice schemes and employee discount schemes. Employees can then make informed reward and benefit choices to best meet their needs and financial goals.

Future-proofing your workforce

Working with employees to tailor benefits and financial support to their individual needs is essential to creating an open culture and strengthening the employer and employee relationship on both sides. Money and tangible benefits equates to security and freedom for employees. Helping your employees keep on top of their finances can increase their capacity and motivation at work, whilst delivering an outstanding workforce experience that unlocks the potential of each employee, both now and in the future.

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