Financial worries – How to support your employees better?
How well are your employees coping with the financial implications of the pandemic? For some, it might not have had a major impact, but others might be in a situation where they are struggling to meet all of their financial commitments.
That could be having a worrying impact on their wellbeing. Aviva research has revealed that mental health is being badly affected by financial worries stemming from the pandemic. Almost a third of UK adults aged between 45 and 54 believe the financial strain it’s causing them is now negatively impacting their mental health. Over half of that group are more anxious about their financial situation than they were before the pandemic. Two out of five respondents are struggling to sleep because of the financial worries playing on their mind.
While this research particularly highlights the impact on a specific age demographic, other research shows financial worries are affecting most age groups. This report by Punter Southall found that 32% think 18-30 year olds are having the most problems with financial wellbeing, 30% believe the 31-50 year age group is worst affected, and 35% of respondents think it’s impacting all ages evenly.
There are signs of a growing belief that there’s scope for employers to do more. Recent research suggests 7 out of 10 employers recognise that employees’ financial wellbeing has become a greater priority since the start of the pandemic. But there are indications that employees don’t think they are getting the support they need, with 66% of employees saying their organisation has provided very little assistance in managing their financial wellbeing. It seems likely that many employers do want to help but are unsure about the best ways to provide support.
How can employers help employees become more financially resilient?
With employers under pressure themselves, and unlikely to have a large budget to dedicate to improving employee financial wellbeing, what kind of support can they realistically offer?
- Talk Money Week
A good potential starting point is the Talk Money Week which will be taking place from the 9th to 13th November. It’s an annual event run by the Money and Pensions Service, and aims to encourage people from all walks of life to have open conversations about money and to take a greater interest in financial wellbeing. As part of that week, the Money and Pensions Service is targeting employers. It’s keen to get them actively involved in supporting and encouraging employees to become engaged in the various ways they can manage their finances more effectively.
Its suggestions include making employees aware of the wealth of free advice they can tap into. Understandably, many employees might feel very reluctant to pay for financial guidance even though they appreciate the value of it. So it’s worth taking them through all the services that can be accessed for free.
Remind them too of benefits already in place in your company such as childcare vouchers, workplace pensions and employee assistance programmes. Are they getting the most out of them? Employees might be vaguely aware they exist, but haven’t really explored what they could mean for them and how they could maximise the value to suit their own circumstances.
- How about longer term?
Employers could also look at strategies for supporting employee financial wellbeing on an ongoing basis. You might find it useful to explore additional support services like payroll saving schemes for instance, that help employees put aside a small amount each month if they are in a position to do so. Payroll-deducted interest-free workplace loans and pay advance arrangements might also be possibilities to assist any employees who are really struggling with their finances.
Find out more
Further information is available on the Money and Pensions Service website, including downloadable packs to help employers get involved with the #TalkMoney week. And of course, one important aspect of financial resilience is employees having full confidence that they are being paid correctly and on time.
If you’d like to know more about our reliable and accurate cloud-based payroll and HR software, which also offers employees greater control via the employee self-service option, please do get in touch.