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Employee financial wellness key to improve productivity

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Given the dire economic circumstances, coupled with ongoing challenges facing businesses, it has never been more important for employees to be prepared both from a financial and personal perspective to deal with unprecedented changes, while still maintaining focus at work.

Elize Giese, FNB Employee Benefits CEO says, many employees struggle with financial literacy, leading to several work-related challenges, including poor performance and job hopping. Employees who have a better handle on their finances tend to be more satisfied, motivated and productive. Therefore, it is essential for business owners to consider investing in improving the financial health of employees as part of their employee benefits offering. This ultimately results in a solid and stable business with a steady income stream.

Having a well-balanced employee benefits offering, especially now when times are tough, can give business owners peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to worry about costs related to replacing talent due to a high employee turnover rate. Moreover, the time it takes to source and train new employees could potentially result in revenue being lost while getting new employees up to speed.

Conversely, employees who are dissatisfied, and discouraged due to their personal financial situations could also cost the business financially due to lower levels of productivity, as well as the resources and time it takes to manage performance and remedy the situation.

Giese shares key points that businesses should consider when introducing financial wellness as part of their employee benefits offering:

  • Employee financial assessments – one of the key reasons why employees experience difficulties when planning their finances is because they don’t dedicate enough of their time to this important subject.

Often, they aren’t aware of what they do well, and which areas could potentially be improved. Therefore, with a financial self-assessment, businesses can begin to understand their employees’ challenges and take the necessary steps to help them build their financial confidence. For example, FNB offers this through the ‘Employee Financial Wellness Report’ which gives employers a view of the financial wellness of their employees and how best to support them.

  • Offering tools and training – without adequate tools and training it can be challenging to help employees improve their financial wellbeing. Due to the broad nature of this subject, the training should be broken down into various levels and stages, based on the needs of the employees. For example, employees can be educated on budgets, borrowing, savings, insurance and home ownership, amongst other financial topics. All these subjects will have sub themes.

The training should also be as interactive as possible, offering employees an opportunity to engage and seek clarity on complex themes. It is also advisable to conduct the training at a time that is convenient for both the employer and employees. In addition to face to face training, employees can also be offered online videos, tools and calculators as support to help them improve their financial literacy.

  • Counselling services – depending on the financial literacy or specific needs of employees, some may require one on one guidance and counselling to improve understanding of the various financial topics in order to empower them to take control and improve their finances.

“At FNB we realise how important it is to upskill and educate employees, and personal financial management is a critical skill we all need. FNB has built various tools to support clients with their financial management in nav>> Smart budget, Track spend and Credit status. We also provide one on one financial guidance to banked employees. When considering introducing financial wellness as part of your employee benefits offering, it is advisable to seek guidance from experts. Each programme will vary depending on the type of the business, sector and employees,” concludes Giese.

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