Debbie Lovewell: Auto-enrolment spurs wider financial focus

Employers are considering ways to offer staff financial support.

Barely a day goes by when stories of rising prices and households struggling to make ends meet do not hit the headlines.

Just last month, the Home truths study by the National Housing Federation found that the number of working households that are now reliant on housing benefit to pay their rent has more than doubled since 2008.

Coupled with rising household bills, pay freezes and concerns about job security, these issues can be a significant source of stress for many employees.

Whether they look to their employer for support or not, the impact this stress can have on productivity and performance at work means some employers are taking steps to support staff facing financial difficulties. Some, such as supermarket chain WM Morrison, are making the most of the incoming pensions legislation and tying a wider financial strategy into their work around auto-enrolment.

Rather than simply being seen as an exercise in pensions compliance, auto-enrolment gives employers a chance to engage with staff, not only around pensions, but also on broader financial issues.

In helping staff to understand how they can save affordably for their retirement, as well as the advantages of doing so, employers can also take the opportunity to demonstrate how staff can also makeprovisions for the short and medium term.

By providing access to financial education and information, for example, employers may be able to help staff to begin addressing any money worries or financial concerns with which they are grappling.

Follow Debbie on Twitter at @DebbieLovewell