According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development one in five employees lose sleep over financial worries and money worries impact the performance of one in four.

However, a new report from Punter Southall Health and Protection ‘Employee Wellbeing Research 2018: The evolution of workplace wellbeing in the UK’ in association with Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA) highlights that many UK employers are now tackling employee financial stress by offering financial education as part of their wellbeing programmes.

Just over half (52 per cent) of companies now include financial wellness within their overall wellbeing strategy, compared with 47 per cent in 2017. A further 31 per cent plan to introduce it this year, which would result in a 60 per cent growth in financial wellbeing programmes.

john Dean, Chief Commercial Officer at Punter Southall Health & Protection says,

“Financial education is becoming an important piece in the wellbeing jigsaw. Financial worries can have a profound effect on a person’s overall health and wellbeing, which can impact a company’s bottom line.

“Financial education makes good business sense. More companies are now offering financial advice and support for multi-generational workers which is targeted and relevant for each group in a bid to reduce financial stress and to improve employee engagement and performance.”

The research highlighted that nearly half (45 per cent) of companies now have a defined wellbeing strategy in place – up from less than a third (30 per cent) in 2016. The research also found that spending on wellbeing rose in 2017 and is expected to rise further in 2018.

John Dean, Chief Commercial Officer at Punter Southall Health & Protection adds,

“Wellbeing overall is something more organisations are focusing on and it’s important that all aspects of wellbeing – whether that’s help with fitness or finances are included within a properly defined wellbeing strategy.

“At a time when health and wellbeing is more important than ever we offer clients advice on creating and designing wellbeing strategies that are tailored to their workforce and can really help improve employees’ physical, mental and financial wellbeing.”

Alan Morahan, Managing Director DC Consulting at Punter Southall Aspire, a workplace savings adviser says,

“Financial wellbeing isn’t so much about how much money someone earns; it’s about the use of money. A person earning a high salary without the skills to manage their money can end up in financial difficulty, while someone on a low salary might be good at finding a way to make ends meet and stay out of financial difficulty. Without the right skills anyone can find themselves struggling to manage their money, which can create stress and anxiety. This can impact their health and wellbeing, and so financial education programmes are a crucial part of wellbeing strategies.”

Punter Southall Aspire has the following tips for employers on how to implement financial education programmes:

  • Understand the demographics of the workforce and develop a programme tailored to their needs. 18-24 year olds might benefit from a presentation on borrowing and debt management but those with savings might be interested in investment advice, or those nearing retirement will want to understand their financial options.
  • When developing a plan consider the four essential components of financial wellbeing – income, spending, saving and borrowing, and allocate a budget.
  • Consider the best way to deliver financial education that will appeal to your workforce. Common methods include face to face seminars, one to one sessions, web-based seminars, online tools and modellers and printed material. Most employers usually offer a mix.
  • Avoid jargon. The world of financial services, even at its most basic level is shrouded in mystery and jargon and assumes people have good understanding. Always assume a low level of understanding and build from there.
  • There are plenty of organisations offering good advice on how to deliver financial education, such as the Money Advice Service and Pension Wise. Use these services as they have lots of experience and tips that can really help make the most of your programme.
  • The Money Charity also provides education, information and advice on money matters, in an appropriate way for young people and adults, which can be included in workplace workshops.
  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is another useful resource, which produces some interesting reports.