We believe that providing access to financial education should be one of the top priorities and responsibilities of employers when it comes to employee wellbeing. And the last year has shown just how important this education is.
As employees shifted to remote work, and flexible hours became more of a general necessity, the pandemic has brought with it a call for companies to improve their provisions towards employee wellbeing. Verizon Media provided additional sick pay, Financial Times ensured employees weren’t feeling too isolated with fortnightly ‘keeping connected’ sessions, and Aviva introduced a number of wellbeing provisions, including mental health support and free access to meditation app Headspace.
Now that there is a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, companies must show that these provisions were not a one-off affair. Improving employee wellbeing helps to build a more productive, motivated, and loyal workforce, and beyond this, it highlights your company as more than just a machine.
Many of the additional measures put in place by companies over the last year have prioritised mental wellbeing, acknowledging the increased level of stress that many of us have been operating under.
Over the last month, we’ve been building our new report, ‘Your mind, your money’, and this provided huge insight into what companies can do next to show employees they care.
100% of our respondents believe that there would be some benefit from gaining financial control, and these benefits would extend into their working lives. Increased ‘happiness’ (13%) improves our motivation to work, while ‘peace of mind’ (35%) leads to greater productivity, as employees spend less time at work worrying about their finances. Most of all, 52% of respondents said they would feel more ‘confident’ if they gained financial control
When your workforce feels confident, their potential skyrockets. It encourages creativity and clear communication, and leads to an increase in company morale which is much needed at the moment, given how uncertain many employees feel with their impending return to office life.
Why is financial education the responsibility of the workplace?
Of course, employees have the option to access financial education in their free time, but our research suggests that company-led programmes are the most effective way forward.
Financial and mental health are closely linked - when we feel stressed about our money, it can be difficult to find the energy to find a solution, quickly creating an ongoing cycle of stress and anxiety. If companies are going to prioritise mental wellbeing in their employee provisions, financial education should also be considered
As part of the Huntington 2021 Money Mindset Survey, 47% of respondents listed ‘Money’ as their most significant stress, while only 40% listed the ‘Pandemic’. If, even in the midst of Covid-19, your workforce are still more worried about their personal finances, it is clear that a change needs to be made.
This is especially the case for female employees. When we asked what age women were when they made the conscious decision to take control of their finances, 55% did not do so until they were over 33 years old. This means that current calls to improve financial education in schools are not enough, because they will not aid women who are already decades into their careers.
Our report makes it clear that financial education is an essential part of our wellbeing, and that, more and more, companies are being called on to provide it for their workforce. In fact, back in February 2021, Close Brothers found that one in four employers are 'looking to launch financial education initiatives for staff in the next three years'.
Are you going to be part of this change?
This article has been written from the insights of our report, ‘Your mind, your money: SmartPurse white paper on women’s financial mindset’. You can download the report (or a one-page version with our key findings) through the link below.