The world around us changed irrevocably when Covid struck. We were forced to adapt to survive. Remote working was quickly established for all but the most essential face-to-face workers. And we all settled into our new normal.
Eventually, thanks to the huge efforts of world-class medical research and development professionals, life opened-up again. And, as it did, we wanted to identify – at a critical time of redefining what work means in this altered landscape – what mattered most to employers and their workers.
As part of Fidelity’s Global Employer Survey 2023 we surveyed 1,002 senior benefit leads across the globe.
Approximately half of these multinational companies identified managing their talent pipeline – attraction, retention and development – as a priority, with four of the five top priorities all relating to their workforce.
What the findings made clear is that while pay remains important, what’s just as valuable to workers is an employer who values their overall wellbeing, fosters a culture of belonging and inclusion and embraces flexibility as demonstrating best practice.
Employers that feel ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ responsible for the financial wellness and mental health of their workforce report that their employees are more satisfied (82 per cent) than their peers (54 per cent).
In addition employers that broaden their understanding of what financial wellness means for their workforce report higher talent attraction rates than industry peers. It goes to show that financial wellness isn’t just a buzzword – it’s something that can give employers real competitive edge.
By building long-term financial confidence within your organisation, you’re encouraging your employees to make informed decisions about their future.
And when your people have access to trusted education, support and guidance, and the right financial products, you’re creating a workforce that feels included, motivated and optimistic about the future.
I think it’s important to emphasise that financial wellness isn’t about quick fixes, nor should it be a passing fad. Financial wellness is something that employers and employees need to consider at every stage of their career. It should be entrenched in the everyday, so that financial wellness becomes a habit; a good one.
Employers are building financial wellness programmes in a variety of ways, bringing together different tools and resources to support employees’ needs.
This often starts with education and helping employees to become more confident in the decisions they make. Technology allows for ‘always-on’ communications – webinars, articles, videos – which employees can access wherever they might be working.
Others are looking at how they can offer more tailored services to support those with more complex needs or specific questions. Access to free guidance or paid-for advice through the workplace offers employees another route for seeking support on some of the bigger questions they might have about their investment and retirement needs.
When people think about the financial products on offer through a workplace, workplace pensions are likely to be the first to leap to mind. However, many organisations are expanding the range of products they’re able to offer to help employees adopt long-term financial wellness savings habits – for example, stocks and shares Isas or lifetime Isas (Lisa) to which contributions can be made direct from earnings.
This focus on financial wellness has sparked lots of ‘financial firsts’ conversations in the office such as saving for a house, or how they’re picking their own investments with the support of tools and guidance.
I think as a nation we can be very guarded when talking about money, but these kinds of discussions are so healthy.
I don’t have a crystal ball. But what I know from everything I see in the market and hear from our clients, is that a company is only as good as its people.
And if employers are going to attract the best people and keep them, they need to work hand-in-hand with partners who can help create a healthy savings culture and improve the financial wellness of their workforce.