There is no doubt that financial wellbeing is a benefit for employee and employer alike. But how do you deliver the best advice for everyone?
There are plenty of reasons why financial wellbeing should be on any HR agenda. Employees with money worries are more likely to be distracted by those worries while at work. They may be having sleepless nights, leading to days when they simply can’t face work. Providing an independent means through which they can seek answers to the questions that concern them brings benefits to everyone. The employee gets to take back control of their financial lives.
Given the means to manage the issue which are of most worry to them, they can get back to their working day free from the stress this once caused. The employer gets a boost by having employees who are once again engaged and productive. As part of a benefits package, financial wellbeing programmes can aid in the retention of existing employees and help attract prospective talent to your organisation.
Right now, as we ease out of lockdown, such advice has never been more important. While some have been able to emerge from the pandemic in more or less good shape, for many others it has added to the financial worries they already face, from paying the bills to managing the impact COVID has had on pension pots and, as a result, retirement prospects. More so as the responsibility for pension decision-making rests more and more on the individual.
So there is no doubt that financial wellbeing is a huge potential benefit. But just how can you ensure that you get the right financial partner to work with you? What should HR be looking for in finding the organisation which can deliver for every single employee, whatever the size or shape of your business? You may already have a financial wellbeing programme. If so, do you review the performance regularly? Technology changes daily. So exactly what should you be assessing to ensure it continues to meet your needs?
Meeting employee needs now and into the future
It should go without saying that any provider of financial wellbeing must be able to demonstrate integrity, openness and honesty. They are dealing with matters which could transform an individual’s financial future. Trust is essential. Whatever the issue the employee faces, from buying a first home to the best way to save for the future, they – and you – have to know that the advice given is advice they can rely on, now and in the future. These are long-term decisions, so partner with someone who has a track record of building and maintaining long-term relationships .
Artificial Intelligence is a wonderful thing, but when it comes to advice about money people want to hear from other human beings, not answers from machines generated using algorithms. They want to hear from experts who listen to their concerns and respond. So you need to ask about the human aspect of any financial wellbeing partner.
The issues and long-term hopes that employees have for their financial futures are as individual as they are. The answers to those issues are just as diverse. Any supplier of financial wellbeing needs to have the human touch – and be able to give bespoke answers which recognise and meet the needs of each and every employee, whatever their background.
For this reason financial wellbeing also needs to go beyond education. Helping people to understand their financial options is important, but everyone feels differently about money and what they want it to do for them and their families. We all have very individual dreams and ambitions which we’d like, if we can, to realize. So any wellbeing program must offer bespoke financial planning which can address those individual desires and hopes. A one-size-fits-all solution is never going to achieve that however well it’s packaged.
Equally, how accessible is the advice? Is the language the company uses free from jargon? Do they, in short, speak your language, not one of their own which needs to be translated to be fully understood?
What support do they provide? Is it bespoke and can it be tailored to your own company’s unique needs? What range of educational tools do they have available? Videos, webinars, online Q&A sessions. Can these be personalized to provide insights relevant to each individual and their own situation? Can they back these up with one-to-one coaching?
Above all, ask about their core values. What are the key things that matter to them as a business? Are these values you share? Can they demonstrate these? This brings us back to integrity, openness and honesty. They are easy words to use, but harder to prove. But that’s no reason not to ask for evidence that they really do live by the values they set out online and in any documentation.
Financial wellbeing is ultimately all about delivering peace of mind. The assurance that you’ve made the right decisions to secure your financial future, whatever you want that future to look like. Delivering that peace of mind for every one of your employees is, of course, the hard part. But by following a few simple steps, asking a few searching questions, it should be possible for you to find a partner to deliver that now and well into the future.
Of course here at Lifetime, we’re quite naturally proud of our proven track record in all of the above areas. We would say that, wouldn’t we? But we’re also happy for you to put that track record to the test and field any questions you might have on any aspect of financial wellbeing. Who knows, it could be the first step in building a rewarding partnership for you and your employees.
Andy Wealthall is the national business development manager at Lifetime