Michael Spiers: Financial wellbeing is not about winning the lottery

Dominating the front pages one week in August was the story of an Amazon worker who scooped a lottery win of £10,000 per month for the next 30 years; this is the so-called Set For Life prize, providing financial certainty and security that most can only dream about. Indeed, it is no secret that money worries are one of the major day-to-day stressors in modern society.

Being in dire straits financially has knock-on effects on mental and physical wellbeing, and can affect people on all levels of income, with the impact it causes relative to the situation, needs, and perceptions of the individual. Therefore, achieving a sense of security and the feeling that you have enough money to meet your needs is important, and something that employers should care about and view holistically, as part of overall wellbeing.

At London City Airport, we want to make sure that everyone who works here has the tools and information they need to be in control of their finances, as well as the financial freedom to make choices that allow them to enjoy life both inside and outside of the workplace. This is particularly pertinent given we are London’s most central airport, in the heart of one of the world’s most expensive cities.

Fostering good financial habits helps to keep our staff engaged, and supports happiness in the workplace. From talking to our staff, one of their most fundamental needs is a sense of control.

London City Airport has invested in all quadrants of financial wellbeing: saving, payday lending, longer-term loans and education. It has also recently become a London living wage accredited employer.

Through our LCY Central benefits portal, we offer a huge range of discounts and offers with household names that make a genuine difference to an employee’s wallet. But it is not just about offering 10% off at Argos, as schemes like Medicash’s cash plan take the sting out of overheads from medical and dental bills, significant household costs which are difficult to predict or budget for.

By enlisting Hastee Pay, the organisation also devolves power to its employees to decide when and how they receive their earned pay. This comes at a small fee, which is a majorly attractive alternative to a payday loan lender for those emergency situations.

Provider Neyber also helps staff avoid high interest payday lenders, with affordable loans that are paid back straight from the paycheck, while the Squirrel app gives our employees the ability to save in fun ways directly from their pay before it reaches the bank.

The range of measures on offer means that each individual employee can pick and choose the options that suit their financial lives, supported by education seminars from financial institutions and further applications, such as Lifeworks.

Financial wellbeing is not about winning the lottery, but learning good practices, budgeting, and having a safety net when life throws you something unexpected. Responsible employers should be ready to help on all of those fronts, not just consider the case closed once the monthly payroll is complete.

Michael Spiers is chief people officer at London City Airport

Michael Spiers will be speaking on ‘How to create a financial wellbeing programme’ at Employee Benefits Live 2019 on 2 October at ExCel, London. Register to attend

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