Increasingly, organisations are concerned with their employees’ levels of financial anxiety and their general wellbeing.
As our collective experiences through COVID-19 have shown, there has never been a greater link between work and personal life. It has led to many changes in the way we operate as businesses and as human beings. Handshakes are long gone, working from home has become the norm, and travel (for work or pleasure) will take a long time to return to its previous levels.
While some organisations have weathered the storm well, others have required significant adjustments. And it is the same for employees and their families. While some industries and organisations appear to be winning, others face ongoing turmoil and employees are too – with parents, children, spouses and friends employed across a diverse and uncertain space.
And, there are clear links between money and employee behaviour including productivity and absenteeism, fraud and safety1.
So how can organisations help employees with their very real concerns around financial anxiety?
The pandemic has also perhaps led to many of us becoming more reflective, which often leads to a growth mindset where we are more open to habit change. When applied to personal finances, changing money habits may allow people to be less stressed and more relaxed about their relationship with money. This could have a profound impact on their wellbeing and their performance as an employee.
Organisations are recognising that supporting employees through wellbeing programs, with habit and mindset change is a real way they can add value to their people during this volatile time.
Changing habits and increasing financial wellbeing
The best financial wellbeing programs provide employees with more than knowledge. Programs that focus primarily on ‘education’ (budgets, investing and super being good examples) fail to address the foundation of financial wellbeing – fundamentally – behaviour towards money and money habits have the greatest impact on financial wellbeing2.
We also know that organisations are increasing their focus in this area. Around Australia, there has been a significant increase in organisations investing in and implementing financial wellbeing programs in 2020. In fact, research suggests it was the clear leader as an employer sponsored benefit3.
In fact, one of the only areas to see a large increase in employee benefits spending in recent years is financial wellbeing. 34% of Australian organisations are providing fully funded financial health checks for employees (up from 26% in 20183). Further, 77% of employers surveyed4 indicated that financial wellbeing will become an increasing priority between 2019 and 2022.
Once a habit change is attempted, there is a correlating positive impact on employees’ financial stress levels5.
So, there are clear winners on both sides.