Will the reopening bring an increase in financial anxiety?

For many employees, the last year and a half has seen a significant reduction in the amount of work-related expenditure, such as commuting and buying lunch when in the office. As well as this, the enforced closure of leisure, retail and hospitality means that spending outside of work may also have decreased.

As the UK reopens at various paces, there is likely to be financial worries on the horizon as people need to pay for their petrol or public transport to get to the workplace, food when they are at work in addition to having money to live and rebuild social lives.

Financial stress can hit anyone at any point – for some it has been a constant throughout the pandemic, and anxieties around money can have a direct impact on overall mental health and wellbeing. As we navigate another huge change to people’s lives, employers need to know how they can support their staff if money troubles arise in the coming weeks and months.

Let employees know you are there to help

Fostering a culture within your workplace in which employees know they can have confidential and non-judgmental conversations with the HR team or equivalent, should they be facing financial problems is essential in supporting employees.

Communicate to employees that you understand what they may be going through and inform them that there are people that they can trust ready to listen and help whenever they need it.

Offer financial wellness and personal finance training

Providing on-demand resources or seminar-style training sessions on personal finance management will help employees to manage their money more effectively, leading to a more positive mindset when dealing with finances.

If employees feel like they are more financially secure, their overall satisfaction and mental health can improve and they are more likely to feel satisfied, valued and fairly paid in their job.

Implement a savings benefits programme

By adding a savings programme, such as Wrkit’s Lifestyle Savings, to your benefits offering, you can actively help employees to spend less money. Savings can be made on both essential, practical expenses, such as fuel and insurance, and lifestyle costs such as travel, fashion and entertainment.

A savings programme is a simple benefit to offer to employees that will make them feel like their employer is taking care of them outside of work, improving overall job satisfaction.

Financial struggles can be incredibly detrimental to people’s mental health, and by recognising this and acknowledging that the ending of current Covid restrictions could exacerbate these types of issues, employers will go a long way in protecting their employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

From Annual Survey to Pulse: Are you ready for the switch?

Employee engagement is dynamic and difficult to influence. Historically, the annual survey has played an important role within organisations, helping mangers and leaders to understand the mood of their workforce from one year to the next. However, administering an annual survey to the entire workforce has its drawbacks. Due to the time and human resources required to analyse responses, compile legible reports and distribute insights, it can be such that by the time insights have been shared, the core engagement issues have changed. The lengthy process inevitably limits however much change HR and managers can influence.  

By embracing more frequent dialogue through Pulse surveys, HR can overcome many of the challenges associated with the annual survey. Frequent snapshots of the company mood give a deep understanding of the core engagement drivers and enable managers to more effectively influence change. Before making the switch from annual surveys to more frequent dialogue it is important to ask yourself the following:

  1. Is my company open to frequent and honest feedback?
  2. Is my company ready to strive for continuous improvement?
  3. What are my organisations core engagement drivers?
  4. Does my leadership team fully support the need for frequent dialogue?

Beginning the journey of change with these questions will help ensure an organisation is culturally ready for the new approach. Should there be one area where the answer is not a ‘yes’ then prioritise addressing this as a first step. For example, if your leadership team is hesitant to increase frequency, plan an in-depth education session. Present the facts and supporting evidence, pre-empt any issues and propose solutions. Use the sessions as an opportunity to identify your champions and leverage their influence to get those who are less convinced onboard and enthusiastic.

Author: Sara Glynn, Marketing & Customer Success Manager@ Wrkit