The expectation for employers to step up and take responsibility for setting their employees on the right track for a financially secure future has become increasingly prominent in recent years. The Wealth Wizards Working Late Report recently showed that over half (59%) of Brits aged between 18 and 34 believe that their employers should be doing more to guarantee their financial stability in retirement.
It’s encouraging that an increasing number of employers are setting their HR departments to the task of devising employee benefit packages covering various aspects of financial wellness; pensions, workplace loans and savings, share schemes, personal debt, financial education and support for financially stressed employees to name a few. Making these options available can be viewed as half the battle, but equally important is the effort made by employers to actively highlight the value of such schemes in order to increase employee engagement.
1. Communicate in a digestible format
Financial planning can be a confusing and daunting concept for many. Previous Wealth Wizards research showed that 44% of Brits feel intimidated by pensions as they don’t understand the complex jargon involved. It’s important for employees to be able to access simple and easy to understand information on exactly what financial benefits are on offer, how they work and who they should go to with questions, in private and in their own time. For example, a pdf filled with endless paragraphs of jargon heavy information is likely to put first time readers off with one look. A clear and concise overview outlining key information clearly and in relatable terms quickly becomes far less intimidating.
2. Provide incentives to learn
A tried and tested way of communicating to the masses when it comes to finances is to create a comfortable and relaxed environment. For example, a presentation or group discussion about what financial benefits are on offer, how they work or even what employees would like to see more of is likely to be a lot more productive if conducted in a relaxed environment, perhaps facilitated by ordering in pizza or with drinks at the end of the day. Employees will often also feel less judged and can be more honest when using a digital solution, especially debt and borrowing is being discussed.
3. Take advantage of technology
The digital transformation of financial advice has completely changed the landscape of what employers can offer in terms of accessibility.
Back in the technological dark ages, financial advice, if offered as an employee benefit would usually fall into one of two categories. A business could provide employees access to a retained financial advisor. Alternatively, they could reimburse employees for arranging their own financial advice. Both come at a significant cost to the business and are less than enticing to employees. Unsurprisingly robo-advice apps like that offered by Wealth Wizards have become a preferable option for many employers.
The app is focussed on being simple to use, with just one question per screen, simple navigation and the ability for the user to play out different scenarios. This option benefits both parties with clear signposting through the advice journey, and shortcuts such as pre-filled personalised data taken from HR and payroll to enhance the customer experience. From an employer’s perspective, Pension Wizard provides rich and action-oriented management information, allowing employers to identify potential employee hotspots (at an aggregate level), including the proportion who will not be able to afford to retire and those without savings buffers, as well as a rigorous audit trail to satisfy regulatory requirements.
4. Acknowledge the sensitive nature of the topic
As a general rule, it is safe to assume that discussing our personal financial situation at work is often an uncomfortable experience. However, this does not have to be the case. It is important for employees to feel like they are in control of the information they share and that they have some assurance that any problems will be treated with complete confidentiality.
A concern that can often be overlooked especially by those in senior or managerial positions, is that information shared during a discussion will in some way affect their role and responsibilities or how they are viewed within the organisation. It is therefore important that when a new financial advice scheme is implemented there is significant focus on exactly how confidentiality will be implemented, how data will be stored and who will be able to access it.