Why protecting your employees' financial wellbeing is central to your organisation's success
The results of our new survey suggest that employee financial wellbeing can't be taken for granted, but is a pressing issue every employer needs to deal with…
Yugi the Giraffe - 22 April 2022
When it comes to protecting your employees' financial wellbeing, where do your responsibilities lie?
Legally, they're quite limited. Morally, it's a different story. But actually, in 2022, it's the benefits to the employer themselves that are most relevant.
Why? Because right now there's a global recruitment crisis, following the 'Great Resignation' in the wake of the pandemic. So whether you need bar staff or branch managers, more and more employees are walking away from their jobs, and it's becoming a huge challenge to replace them.
Consequently, every organisation needs to find practical and affordable ways to keep employees happy, and address their wants and needs. And helping to protect their financial wellbeing is an important part of that.
But how important, exactly? During the first quarter of 2022, we carried out a survey of employees across Great Britain to find out.
Need to take responsibility
According to the survey, 49% of adults believe it’s a workplace’s responsibility to improve employees’ sense of financial wellbeing beyond legal obligations, such as benefit programmes and supplementary pension contributions. Only 18% disagree with this statement.
Perhaps more significantly, though, there's a clear age divide around this view.
Among adults aged 55 and above, only 37% consider a sense of financial wellbeing their workplace’s responsibility. When it comes to 18- to 24-year-olds, though, that figure jumps to 64%, and for 25- to 34-year-olds, it's 69%. Clearly then, this issue is going to become more urgent over the next few years, and any organisation that can get ahead of it will benefit hugely.
It's certainly going to help with recruitment. After all, 61% of survey respondents say that a workplace’s ability or willingness to support their financial wellbeing contributes to their decision to join a new workplace, or to stay at their existing workplace. Only 7% say this is not a factor.
Again, this trend only heightens as people get younger. So more than three-quarters of 25- to 34-year-olds (76%) agree with the above statement, and only 4% disagree.
And the signs are that this will only heighten in the coming months. Given the cost of living crisis we're currently in, 57% of survey respondents say they expect their levels of concern around financial wellbeing to increase. This rises to 65% among 25- to 34-year-olds, and 62% among women generally.
Affect on performance
Unfortunately, this stress is not just affecting people personally, but their job performance too. According to the survey, 80% of workers believe that stress around financial wellbeing can negatively impact performance in the workplace. Those aged 25-34 are most likely to experience this, with 60% saying they 'strongly agree' with this statement.
And that's significant. Because stress around financial wellbeing is a concern for the clear majority of employees right now, across all age groups.
Of the survey respondents, 80% say that they currently worry about their financial wellbeing to some extent, which rises to 88% of adults who live in households with children. And one-quarter (25%) of 25- to 34-year-olds worry about their financial wellbeing to a significant extent.
Asking for help
It's not enough for employers to be passively aware of this issue, though, because employees are unlikely to seek help directly. The survey found that 66% of workers would be uncomfortable telling an employer that they're experiencing financial stress, and just 21% say they'd feel comfortable doing so.
Again, there's a significant gender gap here. While 60% of men say they’d be uncomfortable, that figure jumps to 72% for women. Similarly, 29% of men say they'd be ‘very uncomfortable’ discussing financial stress with an employer, but for women that figure rises to 37%.
Logically, this puts the onus on employers to explain the help and support they already have in place. But it seems that many are not doing this job adequately. The survey found that around one-quarter of workers (24%) feel their workplace does not clearly explain the support it offers.
Most significantly for recruitment and retention, many employees believe the grass is greener elsewhere. In the survey, 29% say that other workplaces look after their sense of financial wellbeing more than their own, compared to 19% who think their own workplace offers more advantageous policies.
Overall then, the lessons of YuLife's 2022 Q1 survey are clear.
- Employees are highly concerned about their financial wellbeing, and expect employers to take responsibility in helping them.
- Stress over financial wellbeing is on the rise, and is directly affecting performance in the workplace.
- Employees are unwilling to ask for help, and so it's up to employers to communicate the support they can offer clearly – which many are not doing.
- Those who fail to do so, or to provide adequate support in the first place, will face huge challenges when it comes to recruitment and retention.
So what kind of support are employees looking for, exactly?
In the survey, 48% of respondents say that life insurance is important to their sense of financial wellbeing, rising to 63% amongst those who live in households with children. From a range of options, a plurality (30%) choose income protection or critical illness cover as their favoured policy a workplace can offer.
At YuLife, we partner with organisations worldwide to provide all these services and more – at an affordable cost, and with industry-leading levels of employee engagement. Read on to discover what we have to offer in terms of group life insurance, group income protection, and group critical illness.
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Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.