How can employers effectively deliver financial wellbeing support to a dispersed workforce?

financial wellbeing support

Need to know:

  • Financial wellbeing support must be accessible to all employees on demand regardless of their working location.
  • Finding out what is needed can help shape support to a dispersed workforce.
  • Support and communications that are useful to the majority of employees can avoid exclusion.

In its State of financial wellbeing index 2024 report, published in May 2024, Wagestream found that half (54%) of the employees surveyed said financial concerns have caused their mental health to decline. It also found that three-quarters (74%) have not told their employer about the issues they have been facing due to money worries. Reaching employees with information about financial wellbeing support can be a challenge; but with many organisations having multiple work sites, as well as hybrid and flexible work patterns, can support be delivered effectively to a dispersed workforce?

What employees need

The first step to ensure the delivery of effective financial wellbeing support to a dispersed workforce is to find out what they need. Employers should communicate with employees to better understand the challenges they are facing, as financial wellbeing needs do not necessarily differ by location.

Jon Rudoe, co-founder and chief commercial officer at Nous.co, says: “Employers should think about universal issues and what people are worrying about. Support can be valuable, as long as it helps people when they need it. Regular pulse surveys about employee sentiment and benefits are an excellent tool and help leaders understand what employees would like to see more of.”

Taking the time to understand and respond to feedback can foster a positive work environment and ensure employees are getting what they need.

Andreas Hunter, head of wellbeing at Gallagher, says: “Organisations should review employee enrolment and flex data to provide insights. They should seek employee feedback on the services and benefits they are providing through a measurable communications channel, such as listening sessions, focus groups, champion networks and employee resource groups.”

Other ways of finding out what employees need can include one-to-one financial coaching sessions online or in person, or following up after introductory webinars on budgeting or money-saving tips to see what employees found engaging and useful.

Support for multiple locations

Whether employers have staff that are office-based, in the field, on a production line, working shifts, or even overseas, financial wellbeing assistance must be accessible to all. Offering a range of delivery methods such as classroom-based financial education sessions, interactive online seminars, streaming in-person workshops online, webcasts or digital tools such as a financial health check that can be used anywhere on any device, can ensure employees are supported.

Jonathan Watts-Lay, director of Wealth at Work, says: “While some information may be provided via a website or leaflet, actually attending an interactive workshop about issues that relate to them can be far more engaging. Financial guidance sessions are becoming more popular and are useful for those who need a deeper level of knowledge. These could be delivered via video call or telephone and can help people decide what their next steps should be and if they want further support, such as regulated financial advice.”

Providing financial wellbeing aid for employees, regardless of where they work, can contribute to a supportive culture. It can help build relationships, strengthen a sense of belonging, and boost morale and productivity.

Using technology to run webinars and host financial wellbeing content helps with efficiency, improving access and reducing costs, says Sarah Steel, head of financial wellbeing at Cushon.

“Running virtual and in-person programmes also provides enhanced flexibility, allowing them to choose the best option for their needs and ensuring no one is isolated or disadvantaged by their working location,” she says. “Social network tools such as Yammer can help communicate online and offline events to all employees to close the geographic gap.”

Employers should prioritise financial wellbeing options that benefit the majority and not the few. Support that employees can access themselves on demand at any time and any location is useful, while assistance that tackles an issue everyone is likely to deal with, such as household bills, can be beneficial.

Financial wellbeing engagement

By utilising and reviewing benefits enrolment and usage data, which can provide insights into behaviours and specific needs, employers can ensure that staff are engaging with financial wellbeing support. They should also regularly communicate how schemes help overall financial wellbeing and provide feedback opportunities, because this will highlight engagement levels.

“Incorporating educational content, including videos and frequently-asked questions, is made possible by technology, empowering employees to make better decisions and enhancing the overall personalised experience,” says Gallagher’s Hunter. “By understanding employees’ objectives, supporting them to undertake the relevant behaviours and delivering the tools they need, they will feel more engaged.”

The timing of financial wellbeing content and events should be considered to ensure that nobody misses out. Allowing employees to access recorded wellbeing sessions at a later date and online educational tools at a place that suits them can benefit those who work flexibly or cannot find time within their working day.

Giving employees the chance to explore support during their working days can encourage participation, says Rudoe.

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“Employers should schedule time for employees to engage with benefits during inductions and onboarding sessions, which can be virtual for remote staff,” he adds. “They could also allocate time for new starters. Setting aside the time shows that employers care about their workforce.”

By ensuring benefits are easily accessible for all and well communicated, employers can be sure that the financial wellbeing support offered to a dispersed workforce is delivered effectively.