HR needs more autonomy to support employee financial wellbeing

?The majority (88%) of employers have said that upper management could do more to promote the financial wellbeing of their employees, and HR’s autonomy to act on the issue could be the answer.

According to new research from nudge, 44% of employers said that giving HR more autonomy when it comes to implementing appropriate solutions would be key to assuring the financial wellbeing of their workforce.

Just 7% of staff said they feel able to talk openly about it with work, despite 75% of employers saying they would be comfortable talking about an employee’s financial situation and wellbeing.

Jeremy Beament, co-founder of nudge, said: “There are powerful actions that employers can take right now to help employees feel more in control of their finances, from opening up the conversation about money within the workplace to helping them develop the right skills and knowledge.

“But these initiatives must be driven from the top. Leadership teams have a responsibility to empower every level of their business and ensure their teams feel supported as we navigate this uncertain period.”

Half (52%) of the workers surveyed admitted to worrying about money at least once a week and 18% said it happened every day.

In some cases, this had led to a loss of concentration (reported by 40% of employers) and low productivity (reported by 35%), plus team members calling in sick due to money worries (according to 26% of employers).

Speaking to HR magazine Steve Watson, head of proposition at financial services firm Cushon, said that though financial resilience has always been important the pandemic has brought it to the fore.

"A lot of employees are now living that rainy day that everyone was warned about, financial wellbeing is key and employees need help from their employers to become more financially resilient now.

"HR need the autonomy to act fast, not only to protect the mental health of their employees but to protect productivity and ultimately the bottom line," Watson commented.

Forty-two per cent of business leaders said that a culture which encourages employees to talk about money would benefit their financial wellbeing, and 35% agreed that they should lead by example and talk more openly about money themselves.

Watson advised: "A great speech from the CEO about the importance of financial wellbeing and being open about money troubles is not going to resonate if there are no practical support or solutions in place. But a genuine opening up from the CEO coupled with a solid financial education framework and financial benefits such as a workplace savings scheme is going to ring true."

Further reading:

Majority of employers believe workers are experiencing persistent money worries

Employers reconsider financial wellbeing for employees post-coronavirus

Redundancy tops employee concerns as lockdown eases

In-work poverty: All work and no pay