A short guide to safeguarding the financial wellbeing of your employees
Blog //31-03-2021

A short guide to safeguarding the financial wellbeing of your employees

by Alex Arundale, Chief People Officer, Advanced

Want to find out more about safeguard the financial wellbeing of your employees? Get in touch here.

Read the whitepaper to discover what considerations your business needs to be taking into account for its own roadmap out of lockdown, and the steps you need to take to safeguard your people whatever your plan and circumstance.

As business leaders look towards 2021 and the steps they need to take in order to safeguard their workforce and a hopeful sense of a return to normality, it is important that they are mindful not only of the impact that the pandemic has had on their organisation, but at an individual level, how their employees may have been affected financially. It is estimated that individual financial problems cost businesses 4% of productivity as well as severely impacting the mental wellbeing of employees. It is therefore, very much in the interest of HR teams to look into spearheading initiatives in order to safeguard the financial and mental health of their people.

Unfortunately, 2020 has seen more than its fair share of redundancies. From losing their jobs and having to take up the stresses of entering the job market once more, to the unfamiliar territory of furlough, these upheavals and disruptions serve to impact both the finances and mental health of those affected. When looking at the shape of the new normal for their organisation, business leaders will need to factor these stresses into any and all business continuity planning, in order to best safeguard the wellbeing of their people. But those who make up the employed workforce still suffer from financial anxiety and drops in productivity. So how can businesses safeguard the financial wellbeing of their employees, even without significant investment in pay rises and bonuses?

In this short guide, we take a look at how you can safeguard the financial wellbeing of your employees, even without the massive investment your business may not be able to afford.

At a fundamental level, ensuring that your HR has clear and constant lines of communication open with employees is a key element in safeguarding employees’ financial wellbeing. The increasing adoption of Cloud based HR systems means that organisations and their HR teams are able to maintain open communication with employees in order to gauge their engagement and wellbeing, and track which employees may be feeling financial strain. Engaging and supporting your people before a problem becomes too big will ensure that your employee knows they have support if they need it, and that they can be open and honest with you if they think their work may suffer as a result

The function of the HR team in safeguarding financial and mental wellbeing is also supplemented by a host of independent services, many of which are free to use. Research by CIPD shows that 30% of people claim that they are making uninformed financial decisions and not taking advantage of organisations in place to advise on finances and savings. It is more important now than ever therefore, that HR teams are able to broach this subject and point employees towards services such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or the Money and Pensions Service . In this way, HR teams are able to assist their employees in making more considered decisions regarding their income and hopefully avoid putting themselves risk financially. Perhaps your HR team can work towards putting together a free ‘Financial Health Pack’ that points towards these free resources.

As we enter the new working world, it will be important for organisations to look at their pay structures when considering future planning. The past 12 months will have thrown many people’s economic situations into the open and many will be paying closer attention to their finances than ever before. It is therefore, imperative that organisations assess their pay policy, in order to ensure that it is consistent and without bias. Many organisations will be putting in place pay freezes as a result of the past year, and if so, should be communicating why to employees. A key challenge for HR teams in this instance, is developing initiatives to reward employees in ways other than financially, without compromising their mental and financial wellbeing.

Pension schemes are likely to come under scrutiny as many people look towards their futures and how best to secure themselves financially. HR teams should assess the current structure within the organisation- are employees aware of their pension schemes? Is there adequate information available regarding the schemes and the effect this has on your people’s pay packets? It may benefit organisations to set up Pension workshops, usually ran by the pension provider, in order to educate their employees on the structure and benefits of their work pension scheme, as well as offer advice as to how to get the most out of their pension once they’ve left the workforce.

The adoption of new technology will also be critical in enabling HR teams to best safeguard their employee’s wellbeing. Our survey of HR professionals showed that 33.1% of people stated that they had already utilised new cloud based technologies. The benefits to HR teams and their people are invaluable, Cloud based HR systems for example, allow businesses to push through company-wide updates regarding changes to benefits and pension schemes, ensuring that employees always feel engaged in the process of discussing earnings. It’s clear that these systems are a metric of organisations who are driving development and innovation and businesses who fold these technologies into their working processes, set themselves up for success through 2021 and beyond.

 Some payroll systems have features such as Draw down pay/pay on demand, which can be a great asset to organisations, particularly in industries with a greater degree of low income workers such as manufacturing and distribution. Flexibility with the pay process allow these businesses the ability to fit the needs of their employees, allowing access to a portion of their wages early, should unexpected costs arise or domestic disasters happen. Knowledge of this flexibility also affords employees greater peace of mind, particularly for low income workers who may be living pay check to pay check. Even if never used by a particular employee, their engagement and productivity should rise, knowing they have a safety net if needed.

Organisations across the nation have shown a great willingness to adapt throughout the course of the pandemic. As we look towards the future with a renewed sense of optimism, it is important that business leaders are willing to retain this adaptable, innovative edge and ensure that when they are crafting the shape of their new workforce, that they are ensuring that there are processes and systems in place to look after the financial and emotional wellbeing of their people.

We know you want to make 2021 the biggest success possible. Make sure you are confident in the steps you need to take and the considerations you should have around looking after your people. Read our new whitepaper to learn more.

Want to find out more about safeguard the financial wellbeing of your employees? Read the whitepaper to discover what considerations your business needs to be taking into account for its own roadmap out of lockdown, and the steps you need to take to safeguard your people whatever your plan and circumstance.

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Alex Arundale

Alex Arundale

PUBLISHED BY

Chief People Officer, Advanced

Alex joined Advanced in February 2016 with a track record in senior HR positions. She has been responsible for innovative strategies to lead the company’s talent management.

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