Top tips for setting up a financial wellbeing programme

By Tracey Ward, Head of Business Development & Marketing, Generali UK Employee Benefits

“70% of employees are looking for some form of help from their employer to improve their financial situation,” says Erik Porter, Founder and CEO of financial wellbeing consultancy Cheddr. Erik was speaking as part of a recent webinar, hosted by Generali UK in partnership with financial wellbeing expert Wagestream, entitled Financial Wellness: your ultimate employee engagement tool.

He highlighted the case for tackling this issue, citing that 25-34 days of productivity are lost each year due to poor financial wellbeing. That’s 13-17% of salary costs. Or, to look at it another way, 2.5 days per employee.

This is such a pertinent topic. It always has been, but the difference now is that the Covid-19 pandemic has helped ensure a concerted focus on the basic needs of employees. Lots of people right now are feeling the financial pressure – at all salary levels. In fact, research by Wagestream finds that nearly half (47%) of employees say money worries are a distraction at work right now.

Katie Duxbury, Head of Payroll Services at Bupa, also speaking as part of the webinar, said that their recent investment in Wagestream’s ‘earned wage access’ service for its care home staff was “the best thing Bupa has ever done”. Available via an app, the service allows individuals to track, save and access earnings without having to wait until payday. Financial education support is also built into the app and underpins everything.

“We implemented the service in November 2019, across everyone in our care home business,” adds Katie. “We carried out a staff survey in the first month and received over 600 responses, which revealed that the app was resulting in: reductions in financial stress; reductions in distractions at work, plus reductions in the use of things like payday loans.

“Around half of those who enrolled are using the service to stream their finances – which makes sense in a sector where lots of people are used to getting paid weekly.  The other half are using if for the peace of mind in knowing they could if needed.”

  • Financial Wellness spans five areas, according to Erik: 
  • Feeling in control;
  • Capability to absorb a financial shock;
  • Feeling on track to meet goals;
  • Flexibility to make choices.
  • Clarity and security for those we leave behind.

Here are Erik’s 5 top tips for setting up a financial wellbeing programme, all of which are focused on removing financial stress:

  1. It must be available to 100% of employees. This is about promoting equality and diversity, encouraging people to talk about money no matter their income or socio-economic background.
  2. It must be available at the right moment. As per a successful marketing campaign, it’s important to use different channels to get your message across to different groups of people.
  3. It must include independent financial guidance.
  4. It must not increase employee debt in any form. The programme should instead equip people to make decisions on their own. A loan might be appropriate for some, but people need the information to make informed decisions.
  5. It must promote good savings habits.

Wagestream is a Wellbeing Investment Matching partner to Generali UK. This means that Generali will contribute to the cost of Wagestream’s services on behalf of their group income protection clients, where a specific need is identified.

Please click below to watch a recording of the webinar.