Improve the health of your employees and company by talking about money
We all have money worries – whether it’s dealing with debt, navigating life events, or having the funds to achieve our goals – and for many, these worries have only increased in the past 18 months: 57% of employees have had to change their financial plans due to Covid-19.
However, too often we suffer in silence.
For a range of reasons, talking about money is not the done ‘thing’. And, yet, if we talk:
– we can feel less stressed or anxious
– we can make better and less risky financial decisions
– we can have stronger relationships with those around us
This is why Talk Money Week (9-12th November) exists: to encourage conversations, alleviate concerns, and build financial confidence. This is crucial for companies, as employees are 2.2x more likely to leave their job when they are financially stressed.
“Worries about debt, bills or other financial issues can feel overwhelming and impact our mental wellbeing and relationships,” says Dr Kate Daley, Psychology Lead at Unmind (the UK’s leading workplace mental health platform).
“This can have knock-on effects on performance at work, interactions with colleagues, and ultimately your sense of fulfilment in life.”
Chelsea Dennison, a professional financial coach at Bippit, adds: “It’s so important to talk about money for your own wellbeing. You can learn so much and get guidance around various life events. It can be life-changing, especially if you have conversations about money when you’re young.”
Opening up is the first step to taking back control of one’s finances. But how can employees do that? And how should companies respond to foster a culture of openness? Here’s how to get started…
Three tips to help employees talk about money worries
77% of employees admit worrying about money at work. This affects their productivity, and can lead to absenteeism and resignations (something companies are seeing with the Great Resignation).
To make people feel comfortable – and confident – starting financial conversations at work, Dr Kate Daley believes it’s important for employees to know and do three things…
- Talk to someone you trust
“This person might be able to offer some advice or a new perspective. They could be a friend, colleague or family member. If you prefer to talk to someone anonymous then you could call a telephone helpline, or use a webchat or financial wellbeing platform.”
- Understand you’re not alone
“Many people conceal the truth about their financial positions, even to themselves, so don’t judge yourself based on what others are telling you about money. Instead, know that communicating your money worries is a hugely positive step towards taking back control of your finances, and your future.”
- Use the right language
“How we talk about money really matters. The words we use can either empower or overwhelm us. Try using positive and aspirational language to improve your relationship with money. For example, instead of using the term ‘Retirement Planning’ use ‘making employment optional’.”
How to listen to your employees’ money worries
55% of companies don’t offer employees support with their financial wellbeing, despite 81% of millennials wanting to work for a company that cares about their financial health.
Wherever your company is in its financial wellbeing journey, if an employee opens up about their finances then it’s crucial you listen, acknowledge, and act. Below are four tips to help you…
- Reframe the conversation
Chelsea says: “we need to go beyond just talking about investments and pensions, and look at what money and wealth actually mean to people. That way, the conversation becomes an easier one to have as it’s about life in general.”
“When we start to look at what we want from life, and how money can help us get there, we become more content. We stop thinking about how much we need and how much is enough, and we start to focus on what we have.”
“If you work with employees to reframe the conversation, then asking for financial support becomes a much more natural behaviour.”
- Know you don’t need to have the fix
Chelsea says: “always make conversations as open as possible, whether you’re able to support or not. You don’t need to have all the answers, but create the space for employees to start the conversation (you can even set a specific date and time in the calendar for 1-1 conversations), then actively listen.”
- Offer confidentiality, responsibly
Kate says: “if someone confides in you it’s important that they’re able to trust you to keep things confidential. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t talk to other people about anything they tell you, unless you ask the person’s permission first.”
“The exception to this is if you believe the person is in real risk, financially or emotionally. In this situation, it’s important to seek professional help.”
- Share your own financial story
Kate says: “similar to fitness training, pairing up with a friend, colleague or relative can help improve financial wellbeing. When someone shares their present money reality with you, share your own concerns. This builds trust, normalises the conversation, and increases the likelihood of better outcomes.”
What can your company do to improve financial wellbeing?
Financial concerns make employees four times more likely to be clinically depressed. It’s why you can’t have a good mental wellbeing strategy without having a good financial wellbeing strategy.
For the former, there are tools like Unmind. Underpinned by clinical psychology and powered by technology, Unmind’s platform helps employees proactively measure, understand, and nurture their own mental health across seven core areas of wellbeing – fulfilment, coping, calmness, happiness, connection, health, and sleep.
For the latter, there are tools such as Bippit, an all-in-one financial wellbeing platform that gives every employee unlimited access to a qualified financial expert to talk to, so they feel less stressed, more secure, and more settled in their job.
Want to improve your team’s financial health? Book a free Financial Wellbeing Lunch & Learn session for your workplace.