• Barnett Waddingham
    Barnett Waddingham
  • Guest Blog, Karim Peer: The link between financial health and wellbeing in the workplace…

    Recognising the importance of workplace wellbeing is rightfully a significant topic of conversation at the moment. With products that are intrinsically linked to the wellbeing of employees; such as gym membership, private healthcare and insurance policies regularly advertised across mainstream media, they have now moved to an expected status rather than a preference.

    Numerous studies reflect the correlation between these kinds of benefits and employee wellbeing; from increased productivity and reduction in workplace stress, to talent retention and staff loyalty. For example, a recent study conducted by HR industry body REBA, over a third of respondents (HR, benefits and rewards professionals), launched their wellness strategy to increase employee engagement and 12.7 per cent hope the outcome will cement a strong and capable workforce. Furthermore, 47.3 per cent of respondents reported that their executives are supportive of wellness ideas and initiatives. It is encouraging to find that organisations are seriously acting on these strategies at such a senior level, as boardroom backing is crucial to the implementation of a successful wellbeing focus.

    Areas such as pension education and mental health awareness among employees are also becoming more of a priority for employers. These are all brilliant, innovative schemes, addressing real life issues affecting real people. But what if we could get to the root cause of these problems? What is the one thing that affects us all, but is rarely discussed openly? Money…

    Money not only affects our mental health, but also our physical health. A number of social studies have shown the link between money issues and stress. Such is the severity of the issue that the NHS and abouthealth.com have created advice pages on financial related stress.

    Barclays recently found that 46 per cent of employees worry about their finances and, evidently, this demonstrates that it isn’t just those who have obvious debt issues that need help. In recent years, the National Debtline revealed that most callers are aged between 25 and 50, and that 45 per cent of callers are in full‐time employment; with a further 10 per cent in part‐time employment. Salaries are clearly not the cure considering the face of financial need demographic has changed.

    The solution, we believe, is a combination of education and action, and the individual has to take full ownership in acquiring the beneficial knowledge. An employee can be advised numerously on improving their financial situations, but until they have the internal drive and access to the appropriate solutions in order to help them do so, the problem is unlikely to change.

    If individuals require in-depth financial assistance to get them out of a difficult time – or if they simply need more advice and guidance – these individual solutions should be provided. Every person should have a detailed, hands-on and personal financial agenda.

    People need a ladder, not a crutch; and personalised, proactive finance is the way forward. In making the tools available to employees through financial wellbeing in the workplace, an employer can give their workforce the hands-on help needed to become debt free.

    Prior to leading Balmoral Financial, Karim was chief executive at Helveta, a specialist traceability technology company, was managing director of OpenBet and chief executive officer of Financial Objects PLC, an AIM listed financial services software company.

    AUTHOR

    Jack Wynn

    All stories by: Jack Wynn

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