A report from international risk management firm Willis Towers Watson has recommended that employers should look to make the financial wellbeing of their employees a key part of their 2018 strategy. Figures from the firm’s 2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey suggest that 69% of employers openly recognised the need to assist employees in managing their finances, with 56% planning to implement a financial wellbeing programme for their staff within the next three years.
Following analysis of over 31,000 responses in 22 markets, the report found employees were becoming increasingly concerned about their long and short term finances. The report also revealed employees were gradually opening up to accepting health and well-being support from their employers; support which is often tied directly to concerns about financial security. It has been found that employees who are troubled by their financial situation are twice as likely to be in poor health as those who are not troubled; resulting in higher stress levels, increased absence, lower productivity and poor workplace engagement.
With this in mind, employers are being encouraged to take a holistic approach to employee wellbeing and financial security this year. Many employers have recently turned to providing Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) to staff as a benefit. These programmes look to help staff deal with personal problems that can have a negative impact on their performance in the workplace. These services are then available for employees during times of distress; providing counselling and support for areas such as bereavement, money problems, relationships and family matters, as well as any workplace related concerns.
Whilst the role of EAPs in modern employment looks set to grow as a method of supporting employee wellbeing, financial struggles can also leave employees with commuting concerns. As fallout from the recent price hike in rail season tickets shows, many employees are struggling to simply pay to get to the office. Employers could consider schemes such as ‘Cycle to Work’ or offer subsidised public transport loans.
Some additional areas employers may consider providing financial support to ease employees’ financial struggles include:
- childcare voucher schemes;
- healthcare benefits;
- season ticket loans;
- low-interest payday loans; and
- pension schemes.
Providing additional support for employees’ financial wellbeing is an approach which can contribute towards higher employee productivity and engagement, resulting in better profits and increased staff retention. Any financial support offered by the employer should be highlighted to employees through an internal policy or within the benefits section of the employee handbook or company intranet.