At a recent Corporate Adviser roundtable, Standard Life’s Head of Workplace Proposition Neil Hugh and Head of DC Workplace New Business Ross Willmott joined EBCs, employers, and advisers to discuss how to support employees with their financial wellbeing – and explore the role that emerging technologies and digital tools could play.
As people continue to face rising bills, high food prices, and fluctuations in mortgage rates, employers are undoubtedly looking at ways to support their staff and putting the spotlight on financial wellbeing initiatives.
This was the area of focus at Corporate Advisers’ roundtable event, hosted in June 2023 and attended by experts from across the industry. The roundtable encouraged healthy debate around how to address the financial wellbeing issues that employees are facing today.
Read on to discover our top three key takeaways from the event. Short on time? Watch our video to get a quick roundup.
Watch our roundtable roundup
1. Technology will play a significant part in financial wellbeing strategies
One of the major themes from the roundtable discussion was the importance of being able to measure the effectiveness of a financial wellbeing strategy.
Employers want to know if the financial wellbeing solutions they provide – whether these are free, paid for, or part of a wider package of support – are making a positive difference to employee outcomes. And understanding these outcomes could help improve take up and engagement as well.
Roundtable attendees agreed that greater personalisation can help improve the relevancy of the financial wellbeing support on offer, with solutions tailored to different life stages, backgrounds, and financial circumstances. Technology and data is already helping deliver this level of personalisation, and it’s expected to evolve rapidly over the coming years.
AI in particular could help remove some of the barriers that employees are facing, such as reducing the element of shame surrounding financial difficulty. Some groups may feel that they should know how to manage their money, and so avoid talking about it if they encounter money problems. Technology that delivers personalised and automated guidance could provide a safe and less judgemental space for people to get a handle on things.
2. Employers need to look closely at their financial wellbeing options
Another takeaway from the roundtable was the need for employers to assess their financial wellbeing options – and make sure these deliver the outcomes they expect.
Attendees suggested that employers begin by reviewing their existing benefits package, because they may have elements of financial wellbeing support already that they could adapt or enhance.
Importantly, employers should think about what their employees really need and what could help them improve their financial lives. This might be budgeting tools to help them manage their monthly outgoings, or financial education to help them better understand their money. Technology is making it possible for people to connect all their financial accounts in one place, including mortgage payments, savings, credit cards, and pensions, which can make it much easier for them to see where their money is going.
All agreed that signposting to impartial financial guidance – such as MoneyHelper and Pension Wise – is a quick win for employers. Not only is it cost-effective, it can also complement other financial wellbeing tools to provide a holistic solution.
3. Financial wellbeing washing is presenting challenges
Financial wellbeing washing – akin to greenwashing – was a hot topic at the roundtable.
Attendees highlighted that ‘financial wellbeing’ has become a catch-all term, encompassing lots of areas that might not necessarily make a difference to improving people’s financial lives.
This could present a financial wellbeing washing risk, where third parties treat it as a tick-box exercise and provide guidance that’s actually a recommendation to buy a product – which may not meet employees’ needs.
To navigate these risks, attendees agreed that it’s important for pension providers and employers to join forces. By working together, they can help put a stop to third parties using financial wellbeing as a gateway to promote irrelevant products that may actually give the wrong support to employees. That way, the focus can be on giving employees the right tools to help them take control of their own finances – and help people understand what financial decisions or choices will work for best for them.
How we’re supporting employers with financial wellbeing
At Standard Life, we’re supporting employers with their financial wellbeing strategy to help them build a financially confident and resilient workforce. From digital tools such as Money Mindset and Homebuyer Hub to free communication campaign materials through our Ready to Go service, we have a range of solutions that can help.
Read the full roundtable write-up
We covered a lot of ground during our roundtable with Corporate Adviser, and these are just three takeaways from the event. To get all the insights, download the full write-up: Harnessing Digital To Move Money Mindset.