Posted on: Wednesday November 28, 2018
Tips on how to help your staff avoid January’s financial hangover.
As we enter the holiday season most people are looking forward to putting work aside for a week, reuniting with family and friends, and enjoying the festivities.
However, it’s important that we keep in mind the effect the season can have on our finances, with one in three of us admitting to spending more than we can afford this time of year. The post-Christmas hangover lingers on into the new year, with December pay day often coming early, it can be quite a stretch to make it through till the end of January.
Neyber’s DNA report has found financial worries to be the biggest concern for UK workers for the second year running. Here at Personal Group, we understand that physical, mental and financial wellbeing are all interlinked, and therefore believe that employee wellbeing should be looked at holistically.
Holistic wellbeing is not a new concept, in 1948 the World Health Organisation published a report that said, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing”. We all know that financial worries can lead to sleepless nights and increased levels of stress. We know that physical illness can impact family finances and affect our emotional wellbeing. And with cases of stress, anxiety, and depression as a result of financial worries all increasing year on year, employers cannot ignore the effect poor financial wellbeing has on absence, productivity and employees’ overall health.
While initiatives such as fair value loans can be life savers for employees during the festive period, it is important that employers encourage their staff to educate themselves as much as possible when it comes to finance. This could be achieved by simply sending out e-shots with money saving tips and tricks and other educational materials such as infographics, blogs, and useful links.
Unfortunately, staff may not feel comfortable discussing their personal finances with colleagues or their employers. Whether it’s talking about debt, investments or requesting a loan, many employees don’t feel comfortable talking to their manager, colleagues or HR department about their financial situation. This is where services such as a confidential Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or fairer finance loans can benefit both those in need and the organisations they work for. Not only do these services offer support to staff, but by using the anonymised reports regarding employee usage, employers can tailor their financial wellbeing initiatives to the needs of the workplace. For example; do calls about financial worries increase each year at the same time? Perhaps you can pre-empt the January financial dip by focussing on financial education and budgeting in November? Are employees applying for more employer loans in January than other months? By using analytics to understand usage trends across each of your benefits you can start to unpick how activity in one area of the wellbeing triangle can affect employees in other areas of their wellbeing
The question is - has this figure increased as a result of general awareness of EAP services and mental health rising or is it growing because more people are suffering and in need? Whatever the root cause, it is important for employers to promote the full range of EAP services that can address financial wellbeing questions and concerns, as well as mental health and physical health worries.
32% of UK employers are now estimated to have financial wellbeing programmes in place but encouraging employees to use the benefits available to them can often be difficult. We find that the key to long term engagement with wellbeing initiatives is communication, feedback and change. A continuous cycle of questioning, absorbing and updating will keep your offering effective and up to date.
Building a partnership with a trusted independent consultant, or an organisation that specialises in workplace financial wellbeing programmes, can be the easiest way to ensure that your wellbeing provision is useful and effective, whilst also giving employees added confidence in the accuracy of the information provided.
Give your financial wellbeing benefits an audit with our financial wellbeing checklist? Or for more information on our Wellbeing services and how we can help your staff, visit our Health and Wellbeing page, or contact us today.