London City Airport offers benefits to increase employees’ financial confidence

London City Airport implemented a suite of financial wellbeing benefits to broaden its approach to employee health and wellbeing, and support staff who are struggling with their finances.

An internal research project, delivered in conjunction with Barclays in 2014, used focus group interviews and an engagement survey to find that 22% of the international airport’s workforce were living pay check to pay check. Furthermore, the organisation’s 2016 annual staff survey, completed in January, also found that 21% of its 620 employees answered negatively to the question ‘how confident are you managing your financial affairs?’.

London City Airport responded to this by creating a three-sided financial wellbeing strategy to help staff manage their money better, and improve confidence in their financial choices. The organisation also wanted to see how the strategy could impact on accident rates; 70% of the workforce have operational roles.

Michael Spiers, chief people officer at London City Airport, says: “There have been accidents where we’ve undergone an investigation, and the individual [has said they were] just absent minded or thinking about something else. It’s those kinds of things where we see financial worries possibly play a part.”

The organisation introduced a savings tool, provided by Squirrel, in January 2016. This uses a gamification-style app to allow staff to create different pots in to which to save, for example a holiday pot.

The tool also includes a delayed pay feature, which enables staff to split their salary to be paid on a weekly rather than monthly basis to help with budgeting. Since its introduction, there has been a 4% take-up.

It followed this with the introduction of a debt consolidation service, provided by Neyber,  in November 2016, to provide all staff with access to loans. To date, 25 employees have taken up this benefit.

The organisation is also finalising a financial education programme, which will be provided in conjunction with HSBC. This will see financial experts coming on-site to deliver seminars to small groups of employees on subjects such as planning for their first home or preparing for retirement.

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Although London City Airport will wait a year before collecting data around accident rates, its 2017 annual staff survey has seen improvements in financial confidence. For example, in 2017, 92% of staff responded positively to the question ‘how confident are you managing financial affairs?’, which represents a 13% increase on the 2016 figure. There was also an 18% increase in the proportion of employees providing a positive response to the statement: ‘London City Airport cares about my health and wellbeing’.

Michelle Truss, HR business partner at London City Airport, says: “Our overall aim was to come up with a benefits strategy that covers all areas of wellbeing: physical, financial and mental health. Our overall aim is to embed financial wellbeing into people’s living so that they feel comfortable being able to talk about it and know where to go to seek help if there are problems.”