How to help employees stick to their financial resolutions
Money often features in our New Year’s resolutions, whether it’s a plan to save more, spend less or to ditch the debt. But, with many good intentions forgotten by the middle of January, employers can help their staff make good money habits stick. Helping employees develop money management skills makes sense.
The financial wellbeing challenge
Financial worries can cause mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, confidence and self-esteem issues. Employees’ physical health can also suffer as a result. Where money worries keep someone awake at night, the lack of sleep can increase their risk of colds and flu, and even more serious medical problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
Providing support for employees’ financial wellbeing comes with a number of challenges. Money is a very personal matter, which can make employees reluctant to come forward for help. In addition, it can be very difficult to target support: a financial problem can affect an employee of any age, position or income.
Financial wellbeing benefits
Offering financial education and support in a variety of different ways can help to overcome these challenges. A group presentation or small seminar might suit new starters wanting to find out about the company benefits or employees thinking about retirement, but someone struggling with debt may feel far too intimidated to ask for help.
Online support can work well, providing information on everything from putting together a budget to boosting income in retirement. Interactive calculators add a further dimension, enabling employees to see how changes to their finances, such as increasing their pension contributions or getting a new mortgage, will affect them.
Employee assistance programmes (EAPs) also have a role to play in improving the workforce’s finances. Employees can speak to qualified counsellors and advisers trained to give financial information and guidance at any time of day or night. Their support can be invaluable in helping an employee resolve their financial issues. It’s worth flagging this benefit, as it’s a common misconception that EAPs are only about stress counselling.
As well as the telephone support delivered through an EAP, some of these services are also available through smartphone apps.
Smartphone apps can be a great way to help employees improve their money management skills. Most of us use our smartphones to do everything from checking our bank balance to ordering our dinner, so it makes sense to provide financial education and tools in this format too.
The special relationship many of us have with our phones also makes app-based support much more personal. An employee might shy away from accessing debt advice through their organisation’s benefits portal, but could feel much more confident when the support is available through an app on their phone.
Offering access to financial education in a variety of different formats will ensure that more employees benefit from this support – and it may just mean that a few more of them stick with their money resolutions this year.
This article is provided by Legal & General.
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