The business case for financial wellbeing looks different for every employer. You might be looking to improve the overall financial health of your employees, or improve productivity and employee satisfaction, or improve your talent brand externally.
The good news is that if you a choose a financial wellbeing that connects in a personal and meaningful way with each employee, you can make significant impact across lots of areas for your people and your business.
Which ones resonate most with your organisation and your ambitions?
- Improving employees’ financial health
- Increasing employee pension contributions
- Increasing employees’ knowledge of company benefits and policies
- Increasing productivity
- Increasing employee satisfaction and retention
- Generating National Insurance savings
- Strengthening your talent brand
- Making progress on gender and racial equity
- Supporting learning and development
- Reducing corporate risk and liability
1. Measurably improve employees’ financial health
When a financial wellbeing service is focused on providing employees the support and accountability they need to take concrete actions, the impact can be huge. Some providers can provide real-time feedback using anonymised data from your employees to show what percentage are:
- Increasing their emergency savings (also known as, financial resilience)
- More protected by insurance and wills (also known as, financial security)
- Increasing the amount put into long-term savings
- On track for a more secure retirement
- Feeling better about managing their debt
With Octopus Money, all employees get guidance and a detailed money plan, including a personal action tracker to stay on top of their goals. Depending on the demographics of your workforce, employees could be up to £9,000 better off in 12 months time.
2. Increase employee pension contributions
Most employees aren’t making full use of their workplace pension because they don’t understand how it works and just how much it can transform their financial future.
Webinars, seminars and email content just can’t convey the huge impact that adding a little more to your pension each month can have. Research has shown that 65% of the general population are visual learners – they need to see information in order to retain it.
Many employees can benefit from a personalised forecast that visualises the impact of your pension over time. With Octopus Money, 25% increase their pension contributions after working with a coach or adviser.
3. Increase knowledge of your company benefits and policies
In our experience, most employees struggle to find and understand all the benefits their employer offers. As one professional services employer said to us, “Our teams are saying they don’t feel supported, but they’re also not using the benefits we’ve put in place to support them.”
Even employers that have a “one stop” platform for all their benefits struggle to get high engagement across the board.
Giving every employee personalised 1-to-1 support can help. A money coach or adviser can start by learning about each employee’s life goals, so they can put everything in the context of what’s most important to them – and appropriate for their needs.
For example, many companies offer salary advance loans for employees who are really struggling with high interest debt and, when it’s appropriate, coaches can make sure the right employees know the support is there and how to use it.
The guidance a real person can offer is also designed to be holistic.
For example, if an employee is planning to start a family, they’ll discuss everything that’s related to that goal: financial options like family tax credits, Junior ISAs, but also childcare costs, parental leave, life insurance, wills and more.
“We talk to so many employees who can’t find (or understand) the parental leave policy,” Shah Abbasi, Head of Coaching at Octopus Money, tells us, “but they don’t want to ask because they’re not ready to have that conversation with their manager. Our coaches can point them in the right direction because we’re already talking about their longer term goals.”
4. Increase productivity
Countless studies have attempted to prove a correlation between financial health and productivity in the workplace. Some studies have even estimated a cost of 15% of average salary lost to financial wellbeing.
These numbers are difficult to measure and track, but we hear anecdotes from coaches and employers all the time.
A HR leader at a regional retail business told us, “I know employees who ask to take one day of holiday a month to deal with their debt situation…I don’t doubt others take that time off sick or do it on company time.”
In businesses where ad hoc absences have to be filled immediately, the costs can be enormous.
Another UK hospitality business told us they “spend £1,000,000 a year in agency fees to cover missing staff … we know that a lot is stress-related absence.”
By addressing the root causes of money stress on an individual basis, the right financial wellbeing service can help employees build confidence and resilience so they can manage debt, bounce back from shocks and start planning ahead.
5. Increase employee satisfaction and retention
You’ve given out raises. You’ve benchmarked your salaries. Your people are the biggest investment your business makes. But your team still feels underpaid. Sound familiar?
There are lots of reasons why employees change jobs, but one of the biggest is pay. Many workplaces are investing in financial wellbeing offerings like 1-to-1 coaching to drive retention.
“One of the most important principles of financial health is balancing income and expenses,” says Shah Abbasi, Head of Coaching at Octopus Money.“ But when we feel financially stretched, it’s easy to focus more on our income than our expenses.”
Working with an expert like a money coach can transform this conversation and help us see what is possible with our current salary – moving your employees’ mindsets from “spending more” to “spending better.” They help employees get to the root of what makes them happiest – so they can be even more intentional with their money, spending on that, while gradually decreasing other expenses.
This changes our relationship with money for the long-haul. “And it means when we do get the promotion or pay rise,” says Abbasi, “we feel the benefits of that for much longer.”
One national accountancy firm did the math and told us, “We pay 20% of salary for recruitment. If we invested in financial coaching for 300 people and 8 stay, that fully covers the cost.”
Another Head of HR said, “Even reducing our annual recruitment costs by 2% makes this investment worth it – and that’s before you factor in all the other savings.”
6. Generate National Insurance savings
When employees increase their pension contributions, the employer’s National Insurance costs are reduced. For employers that need to make a business case for financial wellbeing that shows an impact on the company’s bottom line, this is where to start.
One financial services employer we work with estimated that if 25% of the employees we coached increased their pension contributions by £300 a month, they could save £670,000 in National Insurance!
It’s a win-win – employees get way more to put away for later in life and employers get a savings today.
7. Strengthen your talent brand
Many workplaces across the UK are looking for ways to transform their culture – creating an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work. They’re looking to create greater transparency, inclusivity, openness, reduce hierarchy and more.
But putting this into practice is really tough.
A personalised financial wellbeing programme helps you “walk the talk” by signalling to your employees that it’s OK to feel unsure about money. For example, a money coach can help role model this behaviour to help it gradually take root across your business.
The leader of a regional financial services business told us, “We want to transform our culture into the kind of forward-thinking environment that will attract the next generation of talent. We need to create a space where people feel comfortable talking about tough things and feel really supported.”
8. Make progress on gender and racial equity
We’ve all seen the studies on financial inclusion and the reports demonstrating the gender pay gap in sector after sector. And our own insights frequently show us gaps in financial confidence, debt, pension and protection between different groups.
A personalised financial wellbeing programme can give you access to insight about other financial gaps in your own workforce you may not be aware of – and to measure improvements that are being made in realtime.
A financial services employer recently came to us saying, “We’re interested in financial coaching because we think it’s the most effective way to address gender inequality in our team.”
The FT has also recently published research as part of their FLIC (Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign) that showed the biggest gaps in financial literacy were among those living in deprived areas, the young, women and ethnic minorities.
There are individuals in all businesses who have been excluded from financial education for different reasons. They may be new to the UK and not know how the financial system works. They may not have been given access to finance in their education or learned about things like pensions or long-term investing.
Technology alone can’t understand the cultural nuances and emotional relationship with money in the way another person can. At Octopus Money, we have a diverse community of coaches who can connect and empathise with individuals on a personal level to make sure they get the guidance they need.
9. Support learning and development
In many businesses, financial literacy is an important part of the job. But because it’s rarely taught in schools, even the smartest, most accomplished professionals might lack an understanding of the basics when it comes to their own finances.
Increasing an individual’s financial literacy has a knock-on positive effect for their families, friends and peers as well as their own financial health.
The Head of L&D at a UK housing association told us “Our team often has conversations with residents and homeowners about their finances…I see financial coaching as a way to help them feel more equipped for those conversations.”
We see more and more employers looking to L&D budgets to fund services like money coaching for employees. Employees are more likely to feel supported if they know it’s not just them investing in their financial future, but their company cares as well.
10. Reduce corporate risk and liability
For some businesses, an individual’s personal finances can open the business to liability. If you work in an industry that’s exposed to corruption and bribery, financial distress is a real risk because it has a detrimental effect on our decision-making capability.
Studies have shown that chronic stress biases human decision-making towards habits rather than goals, and also affects our ability to make reliable cost-benefit evaluations.
A public sector employer recently told us, “We want to do whatever we can to make sure that our team is protecting themselves from getting into a bad situation.” And a financial services client told us that while they knew their staff were financially savvy professionals, they wanted to make sure they had the same expertise for their own personal finances.
We know that money worries affect everyone, regardless of industry, salary or age so as you’re dedicating time to upskilling your teams to manage their professional risks, make sure you’re giving them the right tools and support to manage their personal risks.