Are you capable? What leaders need to make teams productive in the new working world

Are you capable? What leaders need to make teams productive in the new working world

Are you capable? What leaders need to make teams productive in the new working world

From collaboration to communication, leaders have needed to adapt their approach in recent times. It’s no longer enough – or even possible – to lap the office once or twice a day. Nor are people motivated by the same drivers that kept them going in 2019.

Cracking the whip never really worked. But neither did being passive. Leaders need to be on the front foot if they’re going to beat back presenteeism, navigate uncertainty, and keep their teams productive. 

Empathy is the new driver 

 Team talks that amount to “Let’s take over the world together” don’t quite resonate anymore. Or at least not in isolation. Leaders have to acknowledge the elephant in the room. The future remains uncertain and many teams feel tentative about the way ahead. If leaders are running on ambition, they’re going to need empathy to match it.

Motivation can’t always be hacked by revving the engine. Sometimes you need to check the oil and test the brakes too. If people feel an underlying pressure to put on a face to match an ambitious aesthetic, they’re going to wear out pretty fast.

Mental health issues can affect everyone of any background, but our position can make us blind to the causes. Financial problems are eating away at the productivity of many employees. And many organisations are unaware.

A BITC mental health report showed that once or twice a year 36% of employees run out of money before their paycheck is due. Of these, 69% say they have money worries. They’re 8.8 times more likely to face sleepless nights, 5.7 times more likely to have difficult relationships with colleagues, and 7.6 times more likely not to finish daily tasks. 

This is also a Diversity and Inclusion problem. Leaders who are white and male are less likely to be affected by wider financial inequality issues. And this can leave them with a blind spot as far as financial wellbeing is concerned. Self-awareness, and an awareness of others, are going to be key in addressing the imbalance.


Being proactive is the trend changer

Our empathy and awareness needs to be backed up by proactivity. It’s so easy in this remote working world for issues to remain hidden from view. So leaders need to be checking in with their teams more than they might think is necessary. 

Bringing up hot topics in a meeting isn’t enough. When we address pressing problems, from mental health to work/life balance to financial wellbeing, we can’t afford to treat it as a tick box exercise.

But even if you are checking in, employees are going to keep some matters private, particularly if there is some kind of stigma around an issue, like finance. This is why it’s important to have a safe space, like Bippit, so that your employees can speak in confidence about their money worries.

We can also create a healthier conversation by modelling behaviour ourselves. When leaders speak freely about their own struggles, it makes space for others to do the same. 

So if your organisation introduces a mental health product like Spill, which supports employees through slack, leaders can make a real difference simply by using the product themselves. Especially when this comes from C-suite leaders, it can remove the taboo and set the tone for the whole company. 

This kind of example setting is also essential for financial wellbeing. Which underpins more mental health issues than you might think. Vitality’s health at work study reported that 51% of employees had some level of financial concern. And not only are they half as productive, they’re much more likely to make unhealthy lifestyle choices – to smoke or suffer from hypertension or cholesterol – and this has further knock on effects on their mental health and productivity.

But if leaders can model a way forward, reaching out for help themselves, whether through financial coaching or another form of support, we can begin to change this trend. 


Support beats self-sufficiency

No matter how apparently unaffected your industry is, the overhanging climate right now is uncertainty. There will be moments when leaders need to respond quickly and there will be in-between lulls where all seems to be well – but teams might be tentative, worried that something could go wrong.

Leaders might be used to handling everything themselves. But the truth is, they need help right now. We can’t respond to every problem and preempt every situation. Sometimes the capability we need is the ability to say ‘help.’

One-to-one support is massive here. Both for yourself and for your team, who will be facing issues they might not want to confide in their boss, or even their HR team. Getting impartial support, whether it’s mental health coaching, leadership development, or financial coaching – it’s all going to be imperative going forward. At least, it is if you want to stay ambitious and productive.

To help you out here, we created a system that matches employees to financial experts, along with a host of preemptive tools and resources. Unlike typical financial advisers, our coaches are not tied to an institution. There’s no product recommendations, hard sells or hidden motives. They’re just looking to help. And that, more than anything else, is what our teams need right now. 

To learn more about how to look after your team’s financial wellbeing, check out our free financial wellbeing guides. Or learn more about our approach to see what Bippit’s own support system looks like in action.

Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?

How COVID-19 changed what employees want – and how to ensure you attract the right people

How COVID-19 changed what employees want – and how to ensure you attract the right people

How COVID-19 changed what employees want – and how to ensure you attract the right people

The best talent expects the best support. But they don’t expect 2019’s version of the best support. As the world has shifted and adapted to a new way of living, expectations around employee benefits have also evolved.  

It was once possible to attract talent with a state-of-the-art office space, or with lifestyle benefits that make life a little cheaper, or with a competitive holiday scheme. But people’s priorities are shifting. A sprinkle of perks and fairy dust won’t do it anymore. We now want to feel secure and we want to feel our employer cares.

Here’s the thing. When people are remote, we don’t necessarily see that they’re struggling. Just because someone has landed a job in our rapidly growing company, doesn’t mean all their worries are solved. Likewise, the top people in the talent market aren’t going to be convinced just because our company appears to be in a stable industry. They’re looking for more.


People are looking for help in the aftermath

Things are a lot more insecure than you might think. Although the people you’re trying to attract might not have dealt with furlough or redundancies themselves, this doesn’t mean they’re immune to the problems of the time. 

Life is throwing all kinds of curve balls right now. For some, their partners may have been furloughed or be out of work due to a dormant industry. Then there are many who have lost loved ones, which has an impact on both financial security and mental wellbeing. 

So even if your company is thriving, the futures of individual employees might be uncertain. Similarly, the talent you’re trying to attract might be tentative right now. 

More than ever, people feel unprepared for what’s around the corner. 

According to an LCP report, two in five employees don’t feel in control of their financial future. Your industry might even be thriving right now, but that doesn’t do much to affect the overall emotion of the time.


What’s high on the talent agenda?

Health and wellbeing has shot to the top of the list of HR priorities. They’re what helps employees feel secure at an insecure time. It also shows you care about the talent you’re trying to attract. Benefits packages that don’t place the emphasis here can feel a little uncompassionate by comparison. 

There are other ways to communicate the same sentiment. You can put a great flexible working scheme in place, or allow emergency leave so parents can deal with childcare issues. Or you can give people easy access to mental health support through an integrated solution like Unmind


The financial wellbeing factor

COVID-19 is starting to make employers more aware of financial wellbeing. The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) has been more important than ever. While other financial benefits, like wage advances or the refinancing of debt, are becoming more and more common. 

All these approaches help to one degree or another, but they don’t quite answer the need. The EAP typically sees very low engagement rates and financial lending services, however welcome, only offer temporary relief (with a cost to the employee), rather than a sense of long lasting security. 

This is the gap that we’ve been working to fill at Bippit. We’ve created a system that can both preemptively boost employees’ financial wellbeing and help them when they’re in crisis. Our tech matches each employee to the right financial expert, who they can speak to anytime. We combine this one-to-one support with powerful tools and expert resources to keep engagement high. 

During the shifts caused by the pandemic, people were able to turn to our experts for support. So when Sarah’s salary was cut when she was looking to make savings, we were able to help. Likewise, when Eric was no longer going out in the evenings and had some extra cash lying around, he discovered how he could use that money to move towards his goal of getting on the property ladder.

To attract the right people, companies need to tackle the long-view as well as the short relief. The support we offer needs to be personal, but where finances are concerned, also confidential and impartial. People are looking for security right now and they’re looking for those who care. You can be that employer. 

Check out our free financial wellbeing guides to learn more about how you can attract the right people. Or learn more about Bippit’s own approach to solving the financial wellbeing problem.

Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?

Supporting employee financial wellbeing – the options available for employers

Supporting employee financial wellbeing – the options available for employers

Supporting employee financial wellbeing – the options available for employers

Financial wellbeing should be a no brainer. Our finances directly impact our mental health – which in turn affects our work life. It’s a core part of employee experience, productivity and retention.

The trouble is the taboo. Mental health awareness might have soared in recent years, but there’s still a layer of shame wrapped around our finances. There’s an unspoken assumption that people shouldn’t need any help in that department unless they’re desperate, a little like the now-outdated assumption that people shouldn’t need therapy unless they’re unable to handle things on their own. 

So financial wellbeing is usually ignored until we hit breakpoint. But long before then, employees can feel the impact on their health, their happiness, and their productivity. In the Close Brothers Financial Wellbeing Index 2019, 3/4 employees said that financial concerns directly affected their work. It’s a problem. It’s widespread. And that was before Covid-19.

While most people are sitting in silence, worrying, many companies are missing the opportunity to make a difference. Even the ones who think they’ve already got financial wellbeing figured out.


A matter of deployment

Let’s get right out there and say it: no one wants to sit in a seminar about finances. At least, very few people do. For a start, it’s just about impossible to make a financial seminar relevant to everyone in the room, and even harder to make it relevant for them at a single point in time. 

So what should you rely on then? App technology? Ongoing support? This is certainly the direction in which many HR managers are looking. Everyone wants something innovative, simple and tech-based. But the question of what that technology delivers is another matter. It’s possible to appear cutting edge but actually be backward looking. 

Ease of use is critical. When Bippit was developing our own financial wellbeing system, it was clear that we needed to make something that didn’t interfere with an employer’s existing system and could be rolled-out instantly. We also made sure that registration for employees takes no more than 2 minutes. And this, in part, helped us create engagement levels of >40% – much higher than the turnout for most seminars.


Answering the right needs

The delivery is key to get you started, but information alone won’t cut it. People need a financial wellbeing system to be more than an FAQ page. Some are in crisis. Others have complex needs. Many don’t know where to start. And everyone is coming at it from a different life stage.

People use Bippit for a broad range of purposes. But we’ve found that most people kick things off by taking our health check. They’re looking for the right questions to ask because no one ever taught us what we should be asking. 

When people do ask a direct question, it can be about any number of issues. “How do I get on the property ladder?” is a big one, as is “How does my pension work?” But by far the most popular topic is “Savings and Investments.”

These are the kind of pre-emptive issues that many companies miss. It’s important to help employees in financial crisis but it’s just as important to help them before they reach that point. 


Financial coaching

What many employees crave is someone to talk to. A PwC employee wellness survey shows that 1/3 of employees would rank access to a financial expert as the top benefit they want to see employers introduce.

If companies can outsource financial coaching with a trusted partner, they can ensure their employees get the safe, confidential support they need. Monthly money worries can subside, crises can be averted and as financial stress decreases, productivity can rise.

Although there’s high demand, there’s not much that’s answering this need. Only 1 in 10 employees have spoken to a financial expert according to the Financial Advice Market Review. And this is partly because of the associated costs. Financial experts are expensive – and most companies don’t want to foot the bill.

Financial advice is also usually tied to a larger lender or mortgage provider. This can add an element of bias to recommendations – something most HR managers are keen to avoid.

To work around this issue, we found a way to match impartial financial coaches with employees through our Bippit system. The delivery format keeps costs incredibly low but also optimises it: helping employees to figure out the questions they want to ask, before they send their one-to-one expert a message. This enables employees to feel comfortable and respected in every coaching interaction.

Check out our free financial wellbeing guides to help you consider your options as an employer. Or learn more about our approach to see how our own financial wellbeing support works.

Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?

Financial wellbeing tools: the HR manager’s guide

Financial wellbeing tools: the HR manager’s guide

Financial wellbeing tools: the HR manager’s guide

Companies have, for the most part, realised that mental wellbeing is essential to employee experience, retention, and productivity. But only a few have understood just how crucial financial wellbeing is to the whole picture. 

As a HR manager, you probably already have a good sense of where the people in your organisation are struggling. But many will be shy about disclosing challenges around their finances. And this can exacerbate the problem. Which is why it’s an especially important area to focus on.


Why financial wellbeing matters

In this uncertain climate, fear of the future has begun to hold a lot more sway over our stress levels. The challenges were already present before, whether we were planning for an expected future, like starting a family, or navigating unexpected turns, like becoming a single parent.  

Financial worries lie beneath many employee concerns. There might be a clear cause, such as a recent graduate’s worry that they won’t get on the housing market. Or it might be more subtle than that. The grind of month-to-month living, the overhanging sense that we are spending too much, the uncertainty of whether we’ll be able to survive if we miss a single month’s pay. 

It’s also a big issue for equality. Even with changing policies in relation to shared parental leave, women are more likely to take career breaks. This has a knock on effect. According to Close Brothers’ research, 42% of female employees don’t think they’ll ever be confident when it comes to savings and investments. 

Supporting financial wellbeing shows employees that we care. It helps them to feel supported to take time off when they need it and it enables them to be more productive when they’re at work. Greensill reports that employees who are worried about their finances are 7.6 times less likely to finish daily tasks and are twice as likely to leave the company. 

Financial wellbeing, then, is hardly an optional challenge but rather an essential problem for HR managers to solve. 


What are companies missing?

It’s becoming a trend to provide financial benefits to employees. Companies might offer loans or income streaming, which enables employees to unlock their pay before payday. But many of these perks, while welcome, just kick the real problem further down the road.

It’s common to have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place. But while these are a great lifeline for employees in dire need, engagement levels are incredibly low because employees don’t access it until they’re at breaking point. 

And reacting to need, while essential, is only one side of the coin. We also need to look at preventative measures, of which many companies are barely scratching the surface. 


The wellbeing gap

For many employees, there’s a great big hole where financial know-how should be. That’s not their fault. It’s just the way we’re brought up. School doesn’t teach us anything about our personal finances, nor do many of our families. As a result, employees are trying their best, but it’s usually down to them and the first results page of Google to get them through.

When we sent out our own surveys to employees at the companies we’ve supported, 41% said they sometimes don’t have money left at the month and another 13% said they always run out of money. We learned that 33% sometimes or always fail to pay off their credit card. 

If that wasn’t hand-to-mouth enough to make you nervous, we discovered that nearly a third of respondents didn’t have any emergency savings. 

While financial benefits can ease the problem, it’s financial education that actually answers it. And that’s what people are actually looking for: A PwC wellness survey reports that 88% of employees want a financial expert to tell them what to do, or help them make better decisions. 

But most companies aren’t answering the need. Only 11% of employees say that their employer has provided them with financial education in the past 12 months, according to a Close Brothers report.

So allow us to pull no punches and say this: if you think you’ve ticked the financial wellbeing box, 99% of the time, you haven’t.


What are the options?

There’s no doubt that employees have financial issues, but as an HR manager you might not always be best placed to help them directly yourself. For one thing, you don’t want employees springing a thousand and one queries about pensions your way, if you can help it. So it can help to bring others onside.

But this is a tricky act of balance. On the one hand, lunchtime seminars and online events can receive low engagement. While financial advice can quickly stray into pushing products that benefit an affiliated institution more than the individual employee.

At Bippit, this is a problem that we’re working to solve. We’ve found a way to match employees with financial experts who have no other incentive than to help them. Learn more about how our financial support system works or check out our free financial wellbeing guides to figure out what’s best for your organisation.

Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?

How to create a benefits package that will attract and retain top talent

How to create a benefits package that will attract and retain top talent

How to create a benefits package that will attract and retain top talent

Let’s face it, everyone is looking for the same answers. No company is unique in wanting to attract and retain the best talent. Nor are we alone in looking at how our benefits package can play a part. So to be competitive, we need to ask better questions.

Do we rely on benefits that look good on paper or do we truly enhance the employee experience? Are we creating a trendy package or are we reassuring candidates that we’ve got their back? The best talent expects the best support from their employer. But their definition of ‘best support’ is changing.


A new approach is needed

There was a time when remuneration was enough. Talented employees would seek out the best paid gigs, maybe glancing at bonuses, holiday and health too. But that era is firmly in the past.

Now there’s Learning and Development to pay attention to, because employees want to know how they’ll progress. It’s also important to tell them how you’ll address beyond-the-job skills like financial know-how. Employees don’t end their weekly existence at 5pm on a Friday. Their wider life affects their work life, and acknowledging this in your benefits package shows you care, perhaps more than the next company which focuses on improving the 9-5 experience.

But we can’t rely on first impressions. Benefits packages are a more complicated formula than many think. It’s not just an inventory of appealing perks. No doubt those bullet points have a role, just like the numbers attributed to an annual salary. But there are more nuanced factors at play.

Our employees are the best brand ambassadors we have. Their experience shapes retention within and our reputation beyond. If we can create a benefits package that addresses their most pressing concerns, they’re more likely to stick around and show us off. And this is the kind of word of mouth that improves Glassdoor ratings, and cuts through the recruitment noise.


What holds the employee experience together?

Wellbeing underlies much of the employee experience. It affects our colleague relationships and team dynamics, our health and home life. Then there’s all the problems that the pandemic has exacerbated. Even within companies that have thrived over the past year, mental health has taken a hit – and this can mean more holes in the leaky bucket of talent retention.

So how does this impact benefits? Well, first it’s useful to have ongoing confidential support. This isn’t flashy but it can be a lifeline to employees who could be under strain for any number of reasons. It also assures others they’ve got help if and when they need it.

But we can also get preemptive. This might be a matter of getting mental health coaching on board. Or it can be a case of bringing the team together through events. There are a number of apps and services, like Sanctus, who make it simple to access support and coaching.

When we address mental health – and physical health has a part in this too – our employees are less likely to lose sleep. They’re able to be more productive at work, and enjoy it too. We’ll see fewer employees leave in search of greener pastures. And better talent is more likely to hop on board and stay on board.


The finance factor

Stress is not an issue in itself. It is a symptom of something else that we need to address. While other daily problems may trigger our strain, it is often our financial fears that lay the foundation.

Finances are the most widespread cause of worry. Willis Towers Watson report that 47% of employees worry about finances, while only 41% worried about relationships and 29% worried about health. 

While we must tackle mental health, we’re wasting our resources if we throw everything at the symptom and not at the cause.

If you’re looking for more direct correlations, it’s reported that 3.6 hours are lost each week because staff are distracted by financial stress. What’s more, those with financial worries are 7.6 times less likely to finish daily tasks and 2.2x more likely to be looking for a new job.

So if HR is going to speed up recruitment and stop the churn, financial wellbeing needs to be part of the benefits package. And it can’t just be a bullet point either.


This is the next wave

To stay competitive in the talent market, we have to pay attention to the signs. In their wellbeing report, ThanksBen found that 84% of respondents said the goal of their benefits programme was to stay competitive. But only 27% offered financial education and advice as part of their wellbeing offering. And even then, such advice often won’t be the impartial, confidential support employees are looking for. This is where you can get ahead. 

It won’t stay like this for long. In the PwC Employee Wellness Survey, 88% of employees said they wanted a financial expert to help them. What’s more, a third of employees said that an unbiased one-to-one financial coach would be the number one benefit they would want to see introduced by an employer.

So the door of opportunity is open. But if you don’t take it soon, you’ll be falling behind. To learn more about how to go beyond the paycheck for your team, check out our free financial wellbeing guides.

Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?