“To get buy-in for employee wellbeing, you must win hearts and minds.”
Mando Agency is a team of 50+ creatives based in Liverpool. Deanne Walsh, HR and Wellbeing Lead, instinctively understands that human capital is the agency’s differentiator, while appreciating that there’s a direct link between wellbeing and performance for both the organisation, and the individuals within it. That’s why they invested in financial wellbeing through financial coaching platform Bippit.
Why the time was right for financial wellbeing
Financial coaching came through very strongly when Mando Agency conducted an employee survey during the height of the pandemic. They knew they wanted to bring in a new solution, but wanted to make sure it was one that would get trust and engagement from staff.
“We’ve tried different initiatives and don’t always get the engagement,” says Deanne, “but with Bippit we’re already at 35% adoption a few weeks after launch – and we’re aiming for higher.”
Bippit supports Mando Agency, like all clients, with an ongoing programme of engagement materials designed to keep the service in employees’ minds.
Aside from their staff survey, Mando also identified the need for financial wellbeing themselves by looking at different cohorts in the workforce and understanding their individual financial wellbeing needs, an approach that Bippit recommends.
“We have a number of juniors at the moment and one of them made a comment during a team dinner about running out of money before payday,” explains Deanne.
“And one of the older members of the team asked them if they budgeted, and they essentially said no because they’d never been taught. If you’re just out of university, you’re earning a living independently for the first time. There are things you literally just don’t know.”
Getting buy-in for financial wellbeing from the Board
At Bippit, we increasingly find that a blended approach gets the best response from executive committees when it comes to financial wellbeing. Data isn’t enough alone and nor are personal stories. But they’re powerful when put together. It’s an approach Deanne believes in.
“We know the ROI of financial wellbeing from trusted organisations like Deloitte,” she says. “There are clear bottom line benefits. So the data side is easy to cover. As for the personal stories, I’ve been in HR 15 years and as a function we’ve made mistakes.”
“If somebody was off with mental illness, in the past you’d leave them alone. Now we know this is the wrong approach. It can be a very lonely place to be and that can have huge impacts.”
“It was really helpful to have Bippit’s pre-engagement materials. Even before the launch, we already had people trying to log on to the app.”
“By using real-life personal examples of where people are struggling, how they’re struggling and the personal and professional impact, you bring the data to life and show in a holistic way that prevention really does make a difference. It’s hard for an executive committee to argue with that.”
You must win hearts and minds to be effective
Deanne is an experienced wellbeing practitioner and sits on the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) wellbeing council, so she gets a very broad view of the industry and the efforts being made to improve wellbeing.
“Some organisations will fund financial wellbeing initiatives, but the level of their support doesn’t reflect in the policies, processes, and support for individuals. They fund it because they are sold on the data and the impact on the bottom line. But engagement and adoption are long-term plays and for organisations to turn the dial, you need to win the hearts and minds of leadership. That’s when it really makes a difference.”
Focusing on adoption and engagement is really important. Organisations need to select the right financial wellbeing solution, one that empowers a diverse workforce to make better choices, but this is half the battle: then they need to focus on engaging staff with the solution. Deanne has experience in this area and some good advice. Firstly, she says, you must generate interest in advance.
“It was really helpful to have Bippit’s pre-engagement materials. Even before the launch, we already had people trying to log on to the app. Post-launch, you must keep talking about it in a variety of forums, for example monthly stand-ups or emails.”
“It’s most effective when employees talk to their colleagues about the value they’re getting from the service. Peer engagement is very important to adoption of financial wellbeing benefits.”
Culture, psychological safety, and engagement
Culture, Deanne says, is also critical. Mando Agency deeply appreciates that culture is important to making progress on employee wellbeing. Psychological safety and trust are key, particularly with regard to financial wellbeing – there’s a strong stigma in the UK when it comes to talking about money.
“We embedded that early with our senior leaders to share their stories. And people look at them and think, ‘no that couldn’t have happened to you as you’re successful and happy and confident.’ And that’s a realisation they go through. And for our team to know that everyone has been on their own journey, it really conveys hope.”
“We actually have an internal wellbeing committee, where people talk to staff about their own personal stories – and also offer themselves as a point of contact around some of the issues they’d faced in the past. That can be unbelievably powerful. But it must come from a place of wanting to talk and share. You need to dig in to find your champions.”
The right culture encourages sharing, which encourages signposting to wellbeing services – and keeps these services at the forefront of peoples’ minds. This is important to financial wellbeing. Because when people are thinking about money, they need to be thinking about what’s on offer in the workplace to support them. Bippit offers employees a comprehensive learning library so that whatever their financial need, they’re able to find relevant information and support.
What’s next for Mando?
Deanne’s focus on prevention is based on her long-term experiences in HR and a clear belief that this is the best strategy for sustainable employee wellbeing.
Next up is continuing their financial wellbeing journey, ensuring that all employees understand how personalised guidance, from Bippit’s team of expert coaches with FCA-recognised qualifications can empower them to make the best possible financial decisions at all stages of their lives.
They’re also trying out mindfulness, too.
“One of our team is actually a mindfulness instructor. And he’s doing some internal mindfulness courses. We’re all very excited about that. It should be great, and it’s part of a strategy of really opening up the conversation to talking about how we stay well, not how we deal with being unwell.
“It’s being proactive, not reactive. It’s prevention, not cure.”
And if you want to improve your team’s financial wellbeing, book a free Financial Wellbeing Lunch & Learn for your workplace.