How responsible is an employer for their employees financial wellbeing?
Most people assume Financial Wellbeing is the responsibility of the individual, possibly banks, and definitely the government… but what about businesses and their employees? Many employees often feel that their employers could do more to support their financial well-being. According to research conducted by the Financial Advice Working Group for HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority, “the 60 per cent of business people surveyed said that they would positively embrace helping their employees if somebody could help them work out what to do”.
This research is now over 6 years old – so, given the current cost of living crisis, we firmly believe that promoting financial well-being among employees is more important than ever for their overall health and productivity.
How can companies support their employees financial well-being?
Here are several ways companies can support their employees’ financial well-being:
- Financial Education and Resources: Provide financial literacy programs or workshops covering budgeting, managing debt, investing, and saving for emergencies. Offer access to financial planning tools, resources, or sessions with financial advisors. According to the research above, the majority of employees welcome these provisions, so long as they are easily accessible and jargon-free.
- Competitive Compensation and Benefits: Ensure that compensation packages and benefits are competitive within the industry, and that they are advertised and clear during the recruitment process. Evaluate salaries regularly and offer comprehensive benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, and flexible spending accounts.
- Flexible Work Arrangements: Implement flexible work schedules or remote work options when feasible. This can help employees save on commuting costs, reduce stress, and enhance work-life balance.
- Emergency Funds or Assistance Programs: Establish emergency funds or financial assistance programs to support employees facing unexpected financial hardships, such as medical emergencies or family crises.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Provide access to EAPs that offer counselling and guidance on financial matters. These programs can assist employees in managing stress related to financial challenges.
- Debt Support: Offer resources or partnerships with financial institutions or charities to aid employees in managing debt. Provide information on debt consolidation, repayment strategies, or counselling services.
- Promoting Mental Health and Well-being: Financial stress can impact mental health. Encourage a supportive workplace culture that destigmatises discussions about financial concerns and emphasises good health, including subsidising options for good diet and exercise while at work.
- Flexible Pay Options: Consider offering flexible pay options such as early access to earned wages, employee bike buying schemes and travel card options, allowing employees more control over their pay schedule to meet their financial needs.
- Pensions and Savings: It’s important for employers to understand their obligations under the auto-enrolment pensions scheme and ensure compliance with pension regulations to support their employees’ retirement savings
- Regular Check-ins and Support: Encourage managers to have open conversations with employees about financial concerns. Support employees by providing guidance or connecting them with relevant resources.
What challenges do minorities face with achieving financial well-being?
People of colour, socially disadvantaged individuals, disabled individuals, and other minorities in the UK often face several challenges that can significantly impact their financial well-being, so it’s important to consider where and how companies can assist their employees with overcoming these.
People from minority groups often face income disparities compared to the majority population. They might encounter lower wages, limited access to higher-paying jobs, or systemic barriers to career advancement, resulting in financial inequality. Some individuals from minority groups may face barriers to accessing mainstream financial services such as bank accounts, loans, or credit. Discriminatory lending practices or lack of banking options in certain areas can contribute to financial exclusion.
Discrimination in the workplace may hinder career opportunities, job security, and promotions for minority individuals. This can lead to unstable employment, lower incomes, and limited access to employee benefits such as retirement plans or healthcare. Unequal access to quality education can restrict opportunities for professional advancement and higher-paying jobs, leading to economic disparities among minority groups.
Addressing these disparities requires systemic changes, including policies aimed at promoting equal opportunities, combating discrimination, providing equitable access to education and financial services, and fostering inclusive workplaces. Efforts to create a fairer and more inclusive society can significantly impact the financial well-being of minority groups in the UK.
Ready to Make a Difference at Your Next Event? Check out another blog – 5 Financial Wellbeing and Social Inclusion Speakers for the New Year.
We know everyone is eyes deep in gala dinners and awards ceremonies at the moment – but we also know January kick-off season isn’t far off. And with the cost of living crisis, interest rates and fuel bills on everyone’s minds, it could be the perfect time to turn the focus inwards as address how staff are handling present financials wellbeing challenges… [read more]