Financial wellbeing – starting conversations and providing practical support

Over 1 in 10 of all workers face in-work poverty, and the link between poverty and mental health is sadly well-established. People who live in poverty are more likely to have mental health problems, while people with a mental health problem are more likely to be living in poverty.

And, people with mental health problems are more likely to be in low-paid work than those without mental health problems.

Octopus Money Anasuya Iyer, VP of People and Growth at Octopus Money, shares how employers can bring financial wellbeing to their workplace, and why it should be top of everyone’s minds.

Money is the leading source of poor mental health and stress in the UK. And, with the rising cost of living, mortgage rates increasing and salaries that don’t go as far as they used to – employees are bringing more and more financial stress with them to the office everyday.

It’s no longer a problem employers can ignore:

  • 25% of us worry about our money every single day
  • Financially stressed employees are 2.2x more likely to look for another job
  • Over three quarters of us bring those money stresses to work

Why should employers care about financial wellbeing?

Caring about the financial wellbeing of your workforce makes them more productive, improves your staff retention and is a responsible thing for employers to do.

With money worries sadly becoming far more common, 9 in 10 employees want someone to talk to about their finances. At the moment 66% feel like their company doesn’t care about their financial situation, which makes them more likely to salary hunt elsewhere, and less productive during the working day.

Employers have the power to bring mass change to their employees’ lives by introducing programmes that improve their financial resilience and knowledge. Not only will this hugely help the employees feel more in-control, it’ll most likely improve their output at work, too.

From our experience partnering with hundreds of workplaces, here are the top 5 practical things employers can do to support their teams:

  1. Try to break the taboo around talking about money. It’s a difficult one to crack, but starting from the top and having executive representation really helps other people open up.
  2. Act as a bridge to resources: your employees shouldn’t have to trawl through long intranet sites to get answers to the help they need – you need to meet them where they’re at. For example, one of the main moments where we think about money every month is on payday. Could your organisation set up an automatic Slack message or email to remind staff of any guidance, resources or support available to them?
  3. Provide training to managers in how to have money conversations with their teams. You could anchor these in moments in employee life stages: like promotions, new roles, having children or retirement.
  4. Ask for feedback, and act on it. An open feedback loop with employees about which benefits they really value, and whether they’d like to see anything else is critical – you won’t know if people need more or less support unless you ask. Make sure you collect both quantitative and qualitative data so you can take the most from it.
  5. Keep financial wellbeing top of mind for your teams: Offering regular sessions on general topics, or tailored sessions on specific products to help make finances a part of everyday working life and a ‘normal’ topic to engage with at work continues to be important.

Here’s some of the best resources from the Mental Health at Work website you can use to support the mental wellbeing of your employees.

Resources in this toolkit: