Commercial property organisation GVA began to create a non-invasive financial wellbeing strategy with the launch of an online financial education programme for its 1,500 UK employees based across its 11 national operating sites.
It implemented its financial education programme, provided by Nudge, in November 2017 following the launch of its physical health and wellbeing strategy in January 2017. This was to continue the development of an all-encompassing approach to every aspect of employee wellbeing. Its financial education programme, therefore, is designed to provide a joined-up approach to financial wellbeing to increase employees’ financial understanding and money management skills, as well as signpost to GVA’s existing benefits provision in order to increase take-up.
Pav Powar, reward and employee benefits consultant at GVA, says: “We really wanted to develop the strategy to be beyond physical wellbeing. We knew we wanted to progress on that and move on to the financial wellness as well, and essentially promote the wider GVA benefits we already offered. By combining financial education with access to relevant employee benefits, it makes our strategy greater than the sum of the parts. So we already had the parts but this strategy, this education will make it the whole. We believe that financial education forms the foundation of our strategy and it integrates with the range of the financial wellness benefits that we already offer or intend to offer.”
The online financial education, which was launched to coincide with the organisation’s annual flexible benefits enrolment window, can be accessed via single sign-on to GVA’s flex platform, My Reward. It uses knowledge of employees’ life events, for example if they marry, have children or move house, to provide automated reminders, or nudges, about relevant benefits that could now be of use or be more appropriate, for example, income protection, childcare vouchers or critical illness cover. Employees can access the financial education via any device, which is important given the geographical spread of the workforce.
“When we were choosing our approach, it had to be when and where our people needed it and very personalised to their needs,” explains Powar. “Arranging traditional face-to-face sessions, for example, wouldn’t have been a workable option and probably wouldn’t have had a great take-up.”
Details about the financial education programme have been integrated into the organisation’s wider communications strategy, although it was originally launched using emails, information on the staff intranet, desktop displays and desk drops. Personalised communications are also delivered throughout the year.
Since introducing its financial education programme, GVA has used data from this to identify employees’ financial interests to help inform future developments to the financial wellbeing strategy. For example, data from its financial education portal has shown that investing and savings are popular topics with employees. As a result, the organisation is looking to introduce benefits such as a workplace individual savings account (Isa), stocks and shares Isa and general investment accounts from mid-2018.
“For employees, finances [are] very personal,” says Powar. “[Employees] come in and do [their] work but [they] wouldn’t necessarily discuss [their] finances with [their] manager or people at work; they are personal issues. It’s a personal issue to someone and to come in all guns blazing and have a very invasive strategy wouldn’t get the take-up, [and] it wouldn’t get the engagement we’re looking to get.”