What is Workplace Financial Wellbeing? Part 1

At the IFW we receive a lot of queries about Workplace Financial Wellbeing. Charlie Goodman, a Board member at the Institute for Financial Wellbeing and head of the IFW’s Workplace Financial Wellbeing offering, has written a 4-part article on this topic. This is part 1. 

A quick Google news search for Financial Wellbeing comes up with several articles from the past few months. It’s great to see some about our recent move to institute status, but a high number of the results are articles based on survey results from workplace financial wellbeing providers.

For instance in People Management, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development‘s magazine, the wellbeing provider Champion Health’s Cost of Living Crisis: Financial Stress and Employee Wellbeing report is explored.

It finds that a third of employees reported that financial pressure was a cause of stress, more so than parenting and Covid-19, and also found that employees aged between 25 to 34 were more likely to suffer financial stress than older workers.

When I’m asked why financial wellbeing seems to now be more prominent and important in the workplace, my answer is that it increased as employers began to take mental wellbeing more seriously – many early workplace financial surveys focused on stress and dealing with crisis, particularly around debt, whereas financial wellbeing actually encompasses having financial options, a clear path to identifiable objectives; ability to cope with financial shocks, clarity and security for those we leave behind and Control of daily finances.

Are your employees ok?

As an employee benefits and wellbeing consultant, I’ve seen interest in workplace financial wellbeing go up a gear in the past year or so.

This perspective is supported by Wagestream’s State of Financial Wellbeing (2022) report, which found that 93% of employers surveyed now have a financial wellbeing policy in place – a huge increase from the 51% recorded in the previous year’s research. Interestingly, 87% respondents reported that Covid-19 increased their focus on financial wellbeing.

Given these factors, it’s likely with the current Cost of Living crisis, interest in workplace financial wellbeing will only increase further.

Many organisations hope that workplace financial wellbeing advice and support will increase employee engagement and productivity, as well as avoid the potential consequences of poor mental health or financial circumstances.

It isn’t just business motivators, though. Employers are simply keen to ensure that their employees are ok, particularly given the increasingly difficult economic circumstances.

Which way is the right way?

After finding budget and time to engage with a workplace financial wellbeing policy, the greatest issue I hear from my HR contacts is figuring out which way to go. There are many businesses in the market now offering financial wellbeing solutions.

There are four subcategories of workplace financial wellbeing solutions: financial products, financial technical platforms, financial education, and financial coaching. I’ll explore these further in the next article in this series.

Each solution majors or promotes a particular focus, but supports the others. I suspect in the next few years these subcategories will merge into one.

The key as an employer is to be clear on what you want the outcomes to be for the organisation and its employees, how you’ll measure success, and what might work best for your budget and population, before picking providers and solutions.

Read ‘What is Workplace Financial Wellbeing?’ part 2.

Read ‘What is Workplace Financial Wellbeing?’ part 3.

Read ‘What is Workplace Financial Wellbeing?’ part 4.

Currently a Partner at the Employee Benefits Collective LLP, Charlie Goodman specialises in financial wellbeing in the workplace. He is a qualified IFA, Financial Coach, and Reward Specialist.

Charlie is a Board member at the Institute for Financial Wellbeing and leads the IFW’s Workplace Financial Wellbeing offering. Join the Institute for Financial Wellbeing.

At 9am on Thursday 15th December 2022, Charlie joined Lorraine McFall to talk about Workplace Financial Wellbeing at the monthly online Forum for Coaches & Planners. Look out for future events like this.