Three out of four employees don’t have any access to financial education in the workplace, according to new research.
The financial wellbeing survey, by Aegon, highlights a shortage of financial education with 72 per cent of respondents says their employer did not offer this service.
However a similar proportion (70 per cent) said they would find general information highlighting steps to improve their financial wellbeing useful.
Meanwhile more than two-thirds (67%) of employees said they would find face-to-face counselling and support around debt management useful.
This survey was conducted prior to the coronavirus outbreak so there may be even higher demand for this help, given the financial difficulties this has caused for many people.
Aegon UK’s managing director of workplace Linda Whorlow says: “The workplace plays a key role in easing the financial worry of employees. Financial education and awareness of what support is available through their employer is very important.
“Many employers are well positioned to support the financial wellbeing of their employees through the selection of workplace benefits they already offer, they just need to ensure that their employees know about them.
“Employee benefits can play a role in easing the financial worry of a workforce as they get access at a discounted cost which makes their income go further. But the financial benefits on offer need to be framed with some financial education, guidance or advice to demonstrate the impact of each benefit financially.
“It might require a bit of time investment to coordinate and deliver but making financial wellbeing a priority in the workplace will ultimately help with productivity.”
She says that regular road shows explaining the staff pension scheme and the value of the employer pension contributions can help address concerns people have about whether they are putting enough away for the future.
In addition properly explaining any matching programme can encourage people to save more.
She adds: “It’s important people understand the financial as well as emotional benefits of options like life insurance or critical illness cover, or hear how much cheaper, and greener, it might be to buy a bike through the cycle to work scheme rather than doing it yourself.
“Those employers investing in the communication of the benefits and keeping financial wellbeing in mind when designing these communications, are more likely to reach those with financial worries.”
Aegon says to help employees realise the value of their pension, employers should consider some of the following:
- Use communications materials across your employee digital channels and around the workplace
- Set up digital information portals for employees to access information about their scheme
- Run in-house group seminars to teach employees about their pensions. These can be done virtually or face-to-face if appropriate.
- Include pension scheme information on employees’ payslips. It helps to remind them of the full value of their pay cheque not just the part that goes to their bank account.
- Have a dedicated in-house adviser that employees can speak to in confidence.
- Implement auto-escalation to improve employee engagement.
- Offer financial health checks to employees aged 50.
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