Financial education | Part 4/5- The inclusive wellbeing project

Wellness programmes are all the rage amongst companies wanting to appear ahead of the curve when it comes to employee perks, but how inclusive are they? The case for financial education platforms as the most impactful and rewarding wellness solution is a compelling one and is increasingly echoed amongst HR leaders. We look at how financial education may be the most inclusive wellbeing initiative of all. To stay up to date with the latest employee wellbeing solutions, follow us on Facebook,  Twitter and LinkedInThere’s been a rise in unconventional wellbeing programmes recently being implemented across the nation by companies aiming to take their wellness initiatives to the next level. The latest trend of wellbeing perks such as puppy yoga, free happy hour, mindfulness seminars and discounted gym memberships have become a hallmark of employers wanting to show they care about employee wellness.

While there’s no doubt the novelty of such initiatives can have a positive effect on team morale, this impact is usually short-term and can often exclude a considerable portion of employees. Compulsory mindfulness seminars might work for some people but could be someone else’s worst nightmare, as well as those with a disability who may be unable to take advantage of weekly yoga class. For employee wellbeing initiatives to really provide value, employers need to ensure their wellness efforts are inclusive.

Inclusive Wellness

The latest trend of wellness perks, while well-meaning, tend to be short sighted and overlook the real cause of employees’ worries and concerns. Ultimately, investing in certain initiatives fails to tackle the deep-rooted cause of employees’ worries and concerns, somewhat akin to painting a shiny gloss of paint over a growing crack in the wall.

Unfortunately, the surge in mental health issues across the nation seems to be increasingly  linked to financial worries. A Close Brothers survey reveals that 94% of UK employees are suffering from money worries, with more than 77% of employees saying that money worries impact them at the workplace.

As it turns out, financial education platforms are a one size fits all wellness solution and could be the most inclusive response to employees’ mental health concerns. Everyone deals with their personal finances on a day-to-day basis differently and despite assumptions that money worries only affect lower-income employees, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

HR news report shows that one in five (20%) of those earning between £45-£60K report that financial worries affect their ability to do their job effectively. Additionally, almost one third of those surveyed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development did not cite having an increased income in even the top five listed solutions to their financial concerns. This confirms that it is not simply a lack of means that is the root cause of money worries, furthering the notion that free yoga classes or discounted gym memberships really are missing the mark when it comes to employee wellbeing. Ultimately, it seems that no matter the income bracket, everyone is in need of a bit of money wellness TLC –  from the CEO of a successful business to those in the gig economy.

Duty of Care

These findings turn the duty of care sharply towards the employer, debunking the assumption that beyond a higher salary there’s not much that can be done about tackling employees’ money woes. Meeting your employees salary expectations isn’t always enough; the need for comprehensive guidance on personal money management, budgeting, investing and savings is critical amongst the nation’s workforce.

As Erik Porter, CEO of The Money Charity explains: “As most of us didn’t receive financial education in school, there is an opportunity for employers to support the development of much needed financial knowledge, skills and behaviours among working-age adults that will have a positive impact on their financial wellbeing” .

The Future of Wellbeing

The case for financial education in the workplace is so compelling that the Bank of England’s Chief Economist Andy Haldane cites financial literacy as one of the big six issues that will help mend society’s inequalities. As well as simultaneously uplifting mental and physical wellbeing by relieving causes of stress, financial education can be personalised according to your circumstances for maximum impact, confirming its position as the inclusive benefit for all.

Furthermore, there is strong evidence that financial education really makes a difference. HR Zone reports that an analysis of 126 evaluation studies found implementing financial education services significantly impacts financial behaviour for the better, as well as increasing financial literacy. The more research is done, the more it tells us financial education produces long-lasting benefits, making it a worthwhile investment for employers that returns visible results amongst the team.

Earlier this year Business Wire dubbed financial wellness programs the ‘cutting edge of employee benefits’. So, if you really want to be on trend, it turns out helping your employees increase their financial literacy by implementing financial education platforms is a guaranteed way to stay ahead of the curve.