Supporting your team
As an HR leader, you are likely to spend a lot of time considering the best ways to support your team. There is a lot that is outside of our control right now; however, what we can do is reduce the impact of the crisis in the workplace.
Especially in these times, we want to ensure that the support we have in place is working for our employees. This support may come in various forms, including increased connection in a remote world, virtual social interaction, and perhaps a more formal employee wellbeing program.
When we think about support for our team, we tend to think first about physical and mental wellbeing. However, we know that social and financial wellbeing in particular, has a significant impact on mental health.
A recent publication from MetLife provides key insights that encourage organisations to ensure that holistic employee wellness is a part of your employee wellbeing offer.
What is causing stress for our employees?
The top sources of stress for employees are personal finances, work, and personal/family health. The study from MetLife, conducted over two time periods in 2020, pre-COVID and post-COVID, found that financial wellness is a top concern for employees right now. This is no surprise, given financial concerns are most significant for workers who have felt job-related and financial disruption, as so many have.
Particularly today, where financial security has been disrupted for millions of workers, the link between financial health and other aspects of health has been highlighted. Poor financial health can be linked to poor physical, mental and social health. The mental health impact of financial hardship is widespread. Today’s world demands enhanced emotional and financial wellness support for employees.
Mental health impacts
The survey data found that mental health is the biggest driver of holistic wellbeing followed by financial health, then social health, and lastly physical health.
Even in data collated prior to COVID-19, there was a strong correlation between financial health and mental health. 43% of employees that said they did not feel mentally healthy also said that financial concerns are why they had not rated their mental health higher.
If we know that mental health is impacted by financial stress, we need to ask ourselves how we are addressing this in our wellbeing programs. Employers are underestimating the financial support that employees need.
A Holistic Employee Wellbeing offer
The MetLife publication provides key insights that encourage a holistic model of wellbeing which consists of four areas:
- Financial; and
Financial wellness is particularly important for holistic wellbeing. In the survey, employees with poor financial health also rated their mental, social and physical health significantly lower than the average. Financial wellness is seen as integral to employees successfully navigating their professional and personal life.
Benefits of implementing these programs
Employers who understand their employee’s needs and take action to provide support, will have a more engaged, productive and successful workforce.
The benefits of a holistic wellbeing program include:
- Improvements to well-being across physical, financial, mental and social health;
- Higher workforce engagement and productivity;
- Increased levels of commitment and loyalty from employees; and
- Reduced claims of injuries and incidents.
Specifically, in these times, financial wellness programs can help employees learn how to manage short-term needs whilst considering long-term goals. These programs are also in demand by employees. 85% of employees surveyed said that financial wellness tools and financial education workshops are a necessary part of a holistic wellbeing program.
How you can maximise the usage of your Employee Wellbeing program
If you are an employer that has invested in a holistic wellbeing program, you will no doubt be looking at the utilisation and success of the program. One of the main reasons that these programs can have limited usage is due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the program by your employees. In addition, employee wellbeing programs can be designed reactively and to address one problem at a time, rather than considering that employees have different problems at different times. Therefore, the offer should be comprehensive and include a toolkit to address mental, financial, physical and social health.
Here are some tips increase awareness and adoption of your program:
- Is the program easy to access and use?
- Are you offering a program that considers all four aspects of wellbeing?
- Financial; and
- Do employees feel that their privacy is protected when they access the program?
- Are you consistently promoting the program? Consider all your communication channels, intranet and policies.
- Ensure Managers are well informed about the program. Employees are likely to go to Managers first with an issue.
- Ensure there is a positive association with accessing the program. Employee champions can promote their usage of the program.
- Regularly ask your employees if the program is meeting their needs, and if not adapt the program.
As a HR leader, reviewing your Employee Wellbeing program to ensure it meets your employee’s needs boosts awareness and adoption of the program. More importantly, it can also lead to a happier, healthier, and more engaged and productive workforce.
Catherine Birchall, Money101
At Money101, we believe everyone should be empowered to make better financial decisions. This is our passion, and everything we do evolves around this.
We’ve been in creating online financial education solutions since 2004 for Government, financial institutions, corporates, Super funds and industry associations. Financial Wellbeing by Money101 is designed to empower Australians to make better financial decisions, a workplace solution delivered online, anytime.