Debbie Lovewell-Tuck: The new world of financial wellness

As our inaugural Financial Wellness Week, in association with Neyber, draws to a close, itโ€™s time to reflect on the trends and issues currently driving this area of the benefits market.

The importance of financial wellness on the corporate agenda was cemented last week with the appointment of Guy Opperman as parliamentary under-secretary for pensions and financial inclusion at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This position replaces that of parliamentary under-secretary of state for pensions, expanding the role to include financial inclusion and guidance.

Oppermanโ€™s appointment highlights how inextricably linked pensions and financial wellness are now perceived to be. Where organisations once invested the majority of their support for employeesโ€™ financial situations in pensions and equipping them for retirement, many now take a much broader view, providing a benefits package that caters for employeesโ€™ short-, medium- and long-term financial needs.

There has also been increasing recognition of the impact of financial pressures on employeesโ€™ physical, mental and emotional health. In many organisations, therefore, these now sit under the banner of an integrated wellness strategy.

This has involved not only a change in attitude and approach from employers, but also from employees. Historically, many employees may have been reluctant to bring elements of their personal finances into the workplace in case their employer became privy to information they would rather remained private. However, this is now changing. The availability of workplace loans and growth of workplace savings schemes, other than share schemes and pensions, means some employees are now actively looking to their employer for support with financial issues.

DHL International, for example, won the award for Best financial wellbeing strategy at the Employee Benefits Awards 2017 earlier this month. The organisation overhauled its approach to financial wellbeing after an employee request for a pay advance in the run up to Christmas highlighted the financial pressures many individuals now experience. Following extensive industry research, it designed a financial wellbeing strategy aimed at enabling more financial security and resilience among staff, and expanding its paternalistic ethos, among many other aims.

For many employers, however, initiating conversations around financial wellness may first require a culture change in order to fully engage their workforce.

So, wherever you are with financial wellness in your organisation, Financial Wellness Week was designed to help you take this to the next level through exclusive insights and opinions uncovering key trends and best practice in the workplace. These included:

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Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
Editor
Tweet: @DebbieLovewell