Since the pandemic, employers have made a considerable effort to help alleviate the burden of their workers’ financial stress yet new research by our partner Wagestream in its The State of Financial Wellbeing: The Cost of Living Crisis Report 2022 highlights that there’s a disconnect between what employers say they’re doing and what employees say they’re receiving.
This article will provide a brief introduction about the ‘impact gap’ then come up with five different ways that your organisation can better deliver investment in financial wellbeing to achieve meaningful positive outcomes for your employees.
Rising costs have forced employers to act
Fortunately, eight in 10 (81%) employers say they’ve introduced new financial support in the last three months. The research presented a breakdown of the different types forms of support that were being offered, such as mental health, which was provided by 19% of the organisations surveyed and increased hours, offered by18% of employers from the research pool
But mind the (impact) gap!
Whilst it’s encouraging to see that support had been implemented, the report highlighted that doing so was only half the battle. A mere 19% of employees say their employers have introduced new support, pointing to a serious ‘impact gap’ despite the increased employer attention.
According to Wagestream’s research, employees are also rating their employers more negatively. In November 2021, 52% thought their employer cared about their financial health and 22% did not. These figures had already dropped to 30% and 35% respectively when the report was published and are likely to have fallen further since.
Five ways to ensure your financial wellbeing investment - and the impact - performs.
For a deeper dive in what you can do, download the full report here.
1. Clearly articulate your role as an employer
If you, as an employer, think that one of the greatest things you can do to influence a high organisational output and a strong team performance is to prioritise the effectiveness, focus and wellbeing of your people, it’s important to share that with your employees.Well over half (57%) of employees didn’t think their employer could help with the cost-of-living crisis, with almost as many (46%) of these citing ‘it’s not their job to’ as the main reason when asked to explain why not.You don’t need to have all the answers before you can start reassuring your workforce that you’re well placed and prepared to take on the job of supporting them through these challenging times.
2. Once you’ve implemented support drive the message and momentum forwardsWell over three-quarters (80%) of employers say they’ve introduced new financial support in the last three months, but only 19% of employees agree.Putting new support measures in place is always the first half of the battle.The second is communicating what you’re doing, relentlessly across all employee channels with engaging and attention-grabbing hooks.
3. Train money champions to signpost and be visible
There’s been progress on the mental health stigma and one of the reasons is the success of the Mental Health First Aiders and similar schemes. With proper training, money champions can act as local, accessible points of contact between employees and the organisation.Your money champion network should be open, diverse and taught what should and shouldn’t be said so they can confidently present themselves as approachable and also more likely to open a conversation.
4. Weed out the money stigma in your organisation
Wagestream’s report showed that money stigma is still a massive obstacle to achieving financial wellbeing at your workplace.Over three-quarters (76%) of employees who have suffered issues like stress and worsening mental health in the last few months due to rising costs have not approached their employer for support - typically because they don’t want people to think they’re struggling or hold back due to shame or embarrassment.
5. Help employees to understand the link between savings and financial wellbeing
Savings are an essential tool in the financial wellbeing toolbox and being forced to use them to make ends meet during the current cost-of-living crisis is also linked to increased anxiety and with worsening life quality.Your financial wellbeing strategy should empower and incentivise your employees to become better savers and give them more choice so dipping into their pot isn’t their first or only point of call when faced by rising costs or unexpected expenses.
Helen Armstrong, CEO and Founder of Silver Cloud HR says ’With the Cost of Living crisis on everyone’s mind it’s important to focus on the financial wellbeing of employees, and how companies can tackle the financial wellbeing ‘impact gap’ to truly make a difference.’
Worried about financial wellbeing at your organisation?
Silver Cloud HR has partnered with Wagestream and is taking part in Financial Wellbeing Week 2022 to to help and encourage more employers to make informed decisions about implementing much-needed financial wellbeing support.
For more information about the key issues affecting your staff and the critical need to put measures in place, read the full report here.