The Future of Financial Wellness report, which compared the views of 700 employees and HR and reward professionals at large companies in the UK, found a disparity between employee expectations and what employers are offering to support financial wellness in the workplace.
The research found that while 97% of employers provide a pensions scheme, only 7% offer any type of retirement planning support, despite 65% of employees citing this as desirable.
Only 15% of UK employers have a financial education programme, which is concerning in light of the UK's lower than average financial literacy score (ranked 15th out of 30 countries according to a 2016 OECD study).
Accessibility of benefits was also found to be an issue, with more than two-thirds (68%) of employees stating they want a single place to access all their benefits, but only 16% of employers offering this. More than half (54%) wanted access to benefits information on their mobile, yet only 28% of companies offer this. Half of employees (52%) wanted single sign-on access to their benefits but only 27% of employers offer this.
The report also explored the positive impact of employers catering more closely to employees' financial needs. Those with access to benefits via a mobile app were found to be more engaged with their benefits (34% compared with 21%). Those with a financial education programme reported employees twice as likely to be very or extremely engaged (38% compared with 19%).
David Dodd, consulting director at Thomsons Online Benefits, said the business case for offering financial wellness benefits is clear. “Employers have a responsibility to improve employee financial wellness not just as a duty of care, but to optimise employee engagement and business productivity,” he said. “Only offering a pension and life assurance won’t cut it with a multi-generational workforce who need broader financial support beyond retirement options.”