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ACDC: avoiding the highway to financial hell

Published by Damian Stancombe on

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes


In our last article, we looked at the compelling evidence that financial wellbeing is fundamental to an organisation’s people strategy, engagement and solving the productivity puzzle.

So if you have started the journey with us and are committed to the philosophy of financial wellbeing in the workplace, the “how?” and “what?” questions remain.

“Songs create emotional impact. Emotional resonance is exactly what we are trying to achieve to engage employees with their financial wellbeing.”

If you can just help your workers save that little bit and take away their financial stop signs, you could take them off the “highway to hell” and help them towards that goal of “livin’ easy, livin’ free” and they will be indebted to you.

How do you get there? Rather than jumping straight to one of the plethora of branded products, simply to tick the financial wellbeing box, you can see that we have drawn inspiration from rock ‘n’ roll and Jurgen Klopp to compose our ACDC model:

Find out more

So here’s our top tips for your “A” and “C”. Our next articles will look at how you can Deliver this and the HR metrics you can use to measure ROI to Check your strategy.

  • Conduct analysis – remember the old adage: “’assume’ makes an ass out of u and me”

  • Layer up multiple sources of evidence to support good decision making

    • Qualitative data – e.g. employee surveys, focus group discussions

    • Quantitative data – including organisational data e.g. attrition, absence records, EAP data

    • External benchmarking & big data e.g. postcode, social indicators, household debt

    • Consultant insight

    • Legislation, including pending and proposed & formal research

    • Your professional judgement, experience & intuition

  • Engage with your workforce to embed success

    • How will you communicate your survey, to ensure you receive responses across all cohorts, so that the strategy you develop is inclusive?

    • Consider carefully the questions in your survey – you may only have one opportunity to ask them and segment questions between issues they have today, tomorrow, and ‘one day’.

    • Capitalise on your staff forum as a starting point for in depth insights via focus group sessions.

    • Independent consultants can be helpful here to encourage really open and honest dialogue. 

    • Work with employees in a transformational approach to define what “good financial wellbeing” will look like for your organisation.

  • Define your objectives and measures of success

  • Integrate with wider objectives and strategies

    • e.g. talent management and reward, employee engagement, absence management, productivity analysis

    • Knock on impact on wider wellbeing e.g. mental and physical health

    • Alignment with your corporate values and branding

  • Advocacy – who are your internal stakeholders, who will champion this?

  • Interpret your analysis

    • What key stats, trends, risks and issues did you identify?

    • Can you quantify any costs implications?

    • Are any of your workplace policies causing financial pressure on employees?

  • Develop a framework

    • Be inclusive - are your existing benefits and policies only benefiting certain cohorts?

    • How do you share profits fairly with employees, without over committing for the future?

    • Are there any internal policies you can tweak that will result in savings for employees? An obvious one is flexible working, which may mean an employee isn’t paying peak commuting fares. Perhaps it’s also worth looking at policies that effect life stages when we know financial resources are strained e.g. maternity / paternity leave.

    • Start thinking about potential solutions – education, policies, procedures, product to address today I tomorrow I one day issues

  • Build a return on investment business case for financial wellbeing – what is the cost of not addressing this?

Lyrics aside, financial freedom gives people choices and empowers them to take control of their lives and we know that this feeling of autonomy or being in control is central to engagement. Giving people the ability to stretch the utility of their hard earned cash is vital. But more next time…

“There ain’t nothin’ that I’d rather do… than build financial wellbeing strategies and I hope you, my friend are gonna be there too.”

Melissa Blissett contributed to writing this article.

Beyond Pensions

Our research reveals that UK employers care about the financial needs of their employees and want to help alleviate their financial stress, but are not hitting the spot.

About the author

  • Damian Stancombe

    Damian heads up the Workplace Health and Wealth team for Barnett Waddingham. Damian advises a range of UK corporate and trustee clients on their workplace health and wealth issues; from scheme design through to ongoing governance for all defined contribution arrangements.

    View Biography

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