EXCLUSIVE: Shell urges staff to be financially educated and in control

Employee Benefits Live 2021: Everyone has the right to feel in control of their finances in order to make informed decisions, stated Alan Becken, HR policy and benefits specialist at Shell.

During the panel discussion titled ‘Pro-actively supporting employees’ financial wellbeing’ that also featured David Glennon, reward manager at Trayport, on the second day of Employee Benefits Live 2021, Becken spoke about how financial wellbeing is often spoken about in the same breath as other types of wellbeing.

“It’s critical to build understanding of this into business culture so it’s easier for employees to approach it. Employers should really stress the importance of financial wellbeing to staff, as it’s one of the key wellbeing pillars. Perhaps try connecting it to emotional needs, asking them the question of what they want their retirement to look like?” he said.

Cutting through the financial jargon can help a wider audience to understand it better and make it seem more approachable, according to Glennon.

“It is getting better, I think society is in a better place to discuss finances now as it seems less scary. It’s given employers more of an opportunity to talk about it with employees, to really enforce the importance with communication and embedding it into company culture,” he said.

On the subject of communicating financial wellbeing messages, Becken discussed the difficulties Shell faces, as the business employs 5,000 multigenerational members of staff, some of which work on oil rigs in the North Sea, with little access to the internet.

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He explained that it is hard to engage with these employees and is a challenge to decide how to pick a platform that will work to engage with them.

“A way of communicating that has been successful for us is when we send out letters to people going on maternity leave for example, where we’ve also included relevant financial information for them. It’s important to recognise when staff may have the need for this by looking at what has changed in their lives that might result in them requiring extra information,” Becken said.