How much involvement should employers have in their employees’ lives, specifically in their financial affairs?
This question came to the fore again last month when the government rolled out a new interest-free loan scheme across the UK.
The scheme, which was previously piloted in London, works in the same way as a season ticket loan, enabling employees to take out a loan for a house rental deposit from their employer. Repayments are then made from their gross salary over an agreed period of time.
The very nature of this scheme highlights the prime position that employers are perceived to have when it comes to facilitating access to such support.
With many Britons still recovering from the effects of the economic downturn, and several years with no, or low, pay rises, such schemes can provide much needed support for staff. Yet with money matters still often perceived to be a taboo subject by many, will employees always be prepared to admit that they need help to their employer?
While there will undoubtedly be some who remain sceptical about placing all their eggs in one basket and relying on their employer for financial support, there are arguments for employers to provide a financial wellbeing strategy for their workforce. Recognising the adverse effect that financial concerns can have on individuals’ wellbeing, and taking steps to counter this, is one of the primary drivers behind the financial wellbeing strategies now offered by some employers.
But for these to achieve the maximum impact for employers, financial wellbeing strategies must be integrated into an organisation’s wider benefits strategy, as well as its business objectives.
Financial wellbeing is just one of the areas that will come under the microscope at Employee Benefits Connect on 4 March. The event, which will take place at the Lancaster London hotel, will bring together HR, benefits and reward professionals to discuss the hottest issues in benefits today, as well as discover future trends. I look forward to seeing you there.