Utilities organisation Anglian Water has approximately 5,000 employees in the UK, half of whom are based across its main office locations, with the remaining half working operationally around the country.
With such a varied workforce demographic, which also spans numerous generations, it is important that the organisation’s financial wellbeing support can be tailored to employees’ individual circumstances and lifestyles.
Sally Purbrick, head of reward at Anglian Water, says: “We try and think of the makeup of our workforce and how [each] particular benefit would be attractive to them.
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“What wasn’t important to somebody one year might be important the next year or the year after, so [we are] trying to make sure we keep things at the forefront for employees.”
Anglian Water launched a financial wellbeing strategy as one strand of its holistic wellness strategy around four years ago. As part of this work, it introduced a host of new benefits, including a scheme enabling staff to save directly from their salary, an employee loan benefit, and a financial wellbeing portal where employees can access tips and lessons.
The financial wellbeing support at Anglian Water is designed to accommodate employees’ varied needs and provide flexibility. “We recognise people’s situations can change very, very quickly,” Purbrick explains. “What underpins us is we have what we think is a good range of benefits that can be used at different times depending on where [employees] are in [their] life journey.”
For example, the employee loan facility might be used by one employee to assist with early career budgeting demands, and by another to contribute towards a child’s wedding. Graduate employees, meanwhile, could opt to contribute less into their pension scheme while they focus on other financial ambitions.
It is important to avoid assumptions, adds Purbrick: “Just because somebody has what looks like a high salary, we learn to not assume that that means they have a different focus on financial wellbeing to somebody in a lower-paid role.”
As at June 2019, 38% of employees aged between 25 and 34 are engaged with Anglian Water’s financial wellbeing portal, as are 30% of staff aged between 35 and 44. Furthermore, 3,397 salary deducted loans have been utilised, and 229 employees have consolidated their debts.
“We offer that flexibility, no matter where [employees] are in [their] life cycle. The benefits we have meet needs and can be flexed quickly and easily as people’s circumstances change,” Purbrick concludes.
Sally Purbrick will present in a session titled Establishing a culture that nurtures financial wellbeing at Employee Benefits Live on 2 October 2019 at ExCel, London. Register to attend and book your place