Whether they’ve been furloughed for the last few months, working reduced hours or carrying on with their jobs as best they can, your employees will have been significantly impacted — in a variety of ways — by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Right now, they need you as an employer to be more supportive than ever.
One of the areas that needs particular attention is your employees’ financial health and wellbeing, especially given how it is closely linked with physical and mental wellbeing. Indeed, this piece by our MD, Claire Ginnelly, highlights how the pandemic is causing people to rethink their attitudes towards life and health risk, sparking increased interest in protection products.
But at a time when businesses are facing an unprecedented level of financial pressure themselves, supporting the financial wellbeing of employees may seem considerably more challenging. Luckily, there are a number of ways employers can help their staff that won’t break the bank.
One of the simplest and most cost effective ways to support your employees’ financial health is by offering initiatives that are focussed on improving their financial education. In addition to the abundance of material that is already available on subjects like budgeting and retirement planning, some providers have also created more content in the face of Covid.
Wealth at Work is one such company that provides tailored financial education and guidance in the workplace. Such support might involve helping employees more clearly understand how the furlough scheme impacts them, how to better manage their household income and/or whether to take a debt/mortgage holiday.
Another area that needs mentioning is redundancies and, specifically, how to help employees better protect their redundancy pay. The sad reality is that employees who have been made redundant and have a lump sum of cash are often the target of scams. Again, education is the solution here, with employers able to cost effectively run programmes to highlight such problems.
Another extremely valuable tool for employees who are under financial pressure is Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs).
First and foremost, EAPs represent a solid investment for employers, with most seeing an average £7+ ROI for every £1 they spend. Such programmes provide invaluable information and guidance, and because they are confidential, employees actively take advantage of them.
While EAPs are usually leveraged for mental health support, many have experienced a surge in interest when it comes to financial health and related subjects.
Employers are often in a position where they can help their employees better cope with necessary purchases. For example, season ticket loans — where the employer funds the purchase of an employee’s annual travel cost and deducts payments from their salary each month — are a great way to help.
Annual travel passes are inevitably cheaper than daily/weekly counterparts, so by offering season ticket loans employers can actually help their employees save money. The monthly salary deductions also mean that the individual does not need to secure credit from elsewhere to pay for their annual travel costs.