Employers must align financial wellbeing to reward

Employee Benefits Live 2015: Employers need to align their financial wellbeing scheme to their total reward programme in order to engage the workforce of tomorrow, according to Ian Hodson (pictured), reward manager at The University of Lincoln.

Ian Hodson

Speaking at a session at Employee Benefits Live 2015, ’Educating your workforce to take control of their financial health’, Hodson explained that using technology alongside financial education programmes enhances employees’ understanding of, and engagement with, their finances.

Hodson said: “We wanted to educate our workforce so that financial planning could support their career plans and get them on the right path for what they’re aiming for.”

This is why the university segmented its staff for the drop-in financial education workshops it offered, while also keeping some of the central themes very similar.

The themes included: overall wealth management; tax and tax thresholds; pensions and savings habits; credit ratings; planning your career and setting financial goals.

Hodson added: “It was about getting the right financial information to the right people.” 

Claire Lock, senior manager, human resources at Monster, who spoke alongside Hodson at the session, stated that Monster once had a here and now workplace culture, with little focus on the financial futures of its workforce. This meant that just 41% of its employees were part of its pension scheme.

To address this, the organisation aimed to develop an engaging and innovative reward, benefits and financial education strategy that maximised workforce planning and financially empowered its staff.

Monster conducted this by offering its workforce a one-stop-shop lifestyle portal, with all its employee benefits under one roof. Lock explained: “We wanted to create a single point of sign-on that could be accessed by employees pretty much anywhere. We also wanted to help them understand the true value of what we have on offer for them.”

The portal combines Monster’s benefits together to form one dashboard of their health, motivation and financial situation. For instance, it allows staff to connect their bank accounts and pension pots so that they can gain a clearer insight into their finances and understand the long-term impact of their pension contributions.

After the organisation held financial health workshops, 80% of employees who attended the then compulsory sessions felt their financial knowledge and understanding had improved. Due to its success, Monster will be rolling out its financial education strategy in 40 more countries next year.

Lock continued: “Good employee financial health is about breaking down the pensions jargon and avoiding stereotypical terms staff may not understand.”

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Hodson added: “Tailoring financial education to staff is so important; people don’t know what they don’t know and the biggest challenge is getting them to understand that. Wellbeing is made up of physical, mental and financial parts and technology gives [employers] the ability to cater for the future workforce’s finances.”