Taking financial wellbeing seriously - Mitrefinch

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Taking financial wellbeing seriously

Published: November 30, 2018

It’s time to take financial wellbeing seriously. 

Employers have come a long way in supporting their workforce’s ‘wellbeing’. However, most have only considered physical health and more recently mental health. Now, financial wellbeing is seen as a vital third component to helping staff when they need it most. There are a number of reasons that financial wellbeing is a growing theme in the workplace – which vary from social, economic and political reasons. The bottom line is employees think about money. Whether they’re coming into the workforce for the first time and don’t know how to manage budgets, or if they’re in their 60s and they are financially supporting families, money is on the mind.

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Financial wellbeing relates to how well individuals manage their finances. From daily spending, to budgeting, pensions, savings and investments. Most people want enough to support their family, have a reasonable standard of life, and money set aside for saving and investment.

The thing is, often, people don’t like talking about money. There is a stigma around how we talk about money and who we speak to about it. Not only is this an inherent issue from generations back, but there is also an element of embarrassment wrapped around publicly talking about the topic. However, because it isn’t often talked about openly, there can be a lot of issues rise for employees that aren’t voiced due to embarrassment or the lack of space to. If these issues or concerns aren’t being voiced, then they probably remain under the radar. It’s this invisibility that can lead to further issues.

According to Barclays*, 1 in 10 employees is struggling financially. Anyone who has known people in this situation will appreciate they tend to suffer alone, too scared or embarrassed to talk to anyone. Money worries may begin to affect work, and, in some cases, staff become stressed, unwell or simply leave.

However, we all know people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t have enough money. They may be in debt and stuck in a situation that could spiral out of control.

A lack of financial wellbeing can have a direct impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Money worries cause stress and can make someone physically ill. Work is one of the first things to be affected. Things can turn to resentment if the affected worker believes he is not being paid enough or is not getting financial benefits linked to achievement. With no obvious sign of support or shift in business policy, the employee may leave in search of getting more money elsewhere.

 

What can employers do to help financial wellbeing?

Like physical and mental wellness, there are two key areas to address: prevention and treatment. Prevention covers a lot, but it centres on education. It’s still odd that personal finance is not taught at school, so you’ll be doing your staff a favour by providing finance webinars and seminars. You could hire a personal financial advisor to visit your workplace and have an ‘open door’ for staff to pop in for advice.

And you could offer practical solutions to encourage staff to save. While we all know about pensions, you could include a savings initiative linked to your payroll. Speak to Mitrefinch about its innovative payroll solutions. It offers complete flexibility and reporting, is scalable and saves your HR staff time, allowing them to invest more in staff wellbeing without the need to manually process all payroll. There’s plenty of other ways to support prevention, including vouchers, showing you care and leaving literature in communal staff areas.

If you have employees already stuck in a financial hole, then have established professional help at hand for them, or at least know where to send them when they need more support that you can’t offer them.

 

Benefits of financial wellbeing for your business

There are clear advantages to employees and businesses in supporting financial wellbeing. Enabling employees to be more financial literate and manage their funds better, there will be a positive effect for managers and wider businesses. Your staff will be happier and more productive if they’re not worrying about financial issues. Further, there will be goodwill towards you as a company for providing preventative and educational measures to help them. And while more productivity helps the bottom line, it also means you’ll retain staff for longer. Also, it might help you attract better staff. A Barclays survey* also noted 38% of workers said they would move to a company with a strong financial wellbeing initiative.

 

*https://wealth.barclays.com/global-stock-and-rewards/en_gb/home/research-centre/financial-wellbeing.

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