41% of employees trust financial wellbeing tools

Financial wellbeing tools must improve in the aftermath of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, according to new research.

Willis Towers Watson’s Future of financial wellbeing study revealed that only 41% of employees would trust financial wellbeing provisions provided by their employer. This figure was only 26% among Baby Boomers and 36% among Generation X.

When it came to rating what organisations currently provide, just 20% of those polled thought that what they were offered was ‘effective’ for helping them deal with day-to-day debt issues, while only 8% thought the financial wellbeing they were given was ‘effective’ for helping them save for housing.

Also revealed by the research was the feeling that employers need to do more to help employees cope with financial pressures caused by Covid-19.

The study found 36% of employers agreed that Coronavirus had a negative impact on their employees’ wellbeing, although at the same time, a quarter (25%) said the pandemic was hindering their ability to improve the financial wellbeing of staff.

Richard Sweetman, financial wellbeing lead at Willis Towers Watson, said: “We found most employers offer some financial wellbeing benefits, programmes and initiatives, but do not have not articulated a strategy yet (62%).”

He added “Offering disjointed programmes that do not have objectives or goals, and that do not assess gaps or under-used benefits, are not likely to be effective in tackling the issues that matter most for employees.”

Just two in five organisations said their ultimate goal was to be able to differentiate and customise their financial wellbeing tools to target and address specific needs.

More encouragingly however, was the finding that the vast majority of organisations (76%) believe their employees want them to take a more active role in broader financial matters.

The top reasons employers gave for offering financial wellbeing were to broaden wellbeing initiatives (88%), to enhance the benefits package (68%), to fulfill their duty of care (60%), and to improve employee engagement and reduce absenteeism (51%).

Sweetman added: “Debt and the ability for employees to make ends meet should be a particularly important area for employers to focus on, with almost a quarter of employees seemingly affected. We know from employee research that when these issues do come up, they have a particularly detrimental impact on mental health and wellbeing.”