How to support employee wellbeing

“Promoting and supporting employee well-being is at the heart of our purpose to champion better work and working lives,” the CIPD says. Marianne Curphey investigates.

Man and woman do yoga on the beach
Figures from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) show that 67% of employees are currently struggling financially, and this can have a detrimental impact on both their own health and business performance.Employee wellbeing is a key issue for companies who want to provide support for staff, retain talent, and make their workplace more productive.

The importance of financial wellbeing

While much of the focus has been around the physical and mental health of employees, companies are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of financial wellbeing too.Research by Aon, the global professional services firm, says 62.5% of employers believe it is their responsibility to support staff with financial wellbeing. A further 98% wish to improve employee engagement in the subject. In response to the Aon 2019 Benefits & Trends Survey figures, leading advisers at Aon have developed seven steps for employers to take to support employee financial wellbeing.Martin Parish, a financial wellbeing specialist at Aon, said: “The issues of poor financial wellbeing are increasingly well-known. Among other problems, 46% of people in problem debt also have a mental health problem.”What’s more, 22% of employees have said their financial situation causes them stress and negatively impacts their productivity.Poor financial health will also have an impact on people’s ability to retire. Aon’s DC and Financial Wellbeing Member Survey showed that 59% of people feel they are not saving enough for the future, and 37% approaching retirement do not have a plan. A workforce with employees who cannot afford to retire is not just an issue for those employees; it can also impact career progression and may increase the number of employees with poor health – and therefore may increase absence rates.Aon has broken the subject down into seven key aspects:
  1. Adopt a holistic approach. Don't get caught in the trap of thinking that employer support should only cover financial aspects related to the workplace, such as pensions, workplace ISAs and bonuses. Consider personal financial circumstances too.
  2. Use data. What are your current levels of uptake and engagement? Ask employees what support employees they would like. Benchmark your financial wellbeing activities against your competitors.
  3. Focus on a framework. There is a lot of ground to cover so break it down to have the best impact on engagement.
  4. Be practical and relatable. Budgeting, financial goals, retirement planning and preventative action have a real impact for staff.
  5. Use Technology. Technology gives employers the opportunity to enhance their financial wellbeing strategy.
  6. Engage Champions. Adopt an open culture about financial awareness.
  7. Take an agile approach. You can make improvements or change direction as you find out what works.

Mental health and the workplace

The importance of highlighting mental health issues has figured prominently in the news over the past week. Prince Harry and musician Ed Sheeran joined together for a video to raise awareness of World Mental Health Day on October 9.Prince Harry has also supported the #EveryMindMatters initiative by Public Health England in partnership with the NHS, which aims to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health.Recent research by Mind, the mental health charity, discovered that 14 % of those questioned said they had resigned and 42 % had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them.World Mental Health Day this year focused on suicide prevention. Employers are also being urged to take employee mental health seriously and watch out for warning signs among their staff. They also need to be aware of the pressures that employees may be facing on a personal basis, which affects them at work. The sandwich generation, for example, might be caring for a relative with Alzheimer’s disease while also raising their own family.The importance of talent retention and of motivating existing staff was one of the key issues discussed at Employee Benefits Live, Europe’s largest reward and benefits event in London for the HR Industry last week.In a couple of weeks’ time employee wellbeing will be one of the key focus areas at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition. The themes of the two-day event in Manchester will be driving good work, managing change effectively, and increasing wellbeing, experience and inclusion.The CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition is at Manchester Central on 6-7 November 2019, bringing together the people profession for two days of unparalleled learning and networking opportunities.“Promoting and supporting employee well-being is at the heart of our purpose to champion better work and working lives,” the CIPD says, “because an effective workplace well-being programme can deliver mutual benefit to people, organisations, economies and communities. When people are happy and well, businesses can thrive and societies flourish.”

For more news and views, visit our dedicated Global Health and Wellbeing section.

Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory

Related Articles