A lot of us are feeling stressed at the moment. Our lives have changed greatly in such a short space of time and many of us are now facing increasing uncertainty over our financial wellbeing. This could be anything from reduced working hours, housing costs, day-to-day bills or risk of redundancy.
The Employer’s Guide to Financial Wellbeing 2019-20 confirmed the strong link between our mental and financial wellbeing. We know that those who have financial worries are over four times more likely to suffer from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
There isn’t a silver bullet or a quick fix when it comes to dealing with employees wellbeing. As employers, it’s important to remember that you can’t fix everything and it’s also not your responsibility to. However, there are some key things that every employer can do to support employees during these testing times:
There is a huge amount of information and noise surrounding Covid-19. It can create feelings of fear in all of us. Our research has confirmed that 76 per cent of UK employees trust their employer. This presents a real opportunity for employers to play an important role during this time by sending out helpful information following government guidelines, cutting through the noise and giving employees clear guidance on what they should be doing.
Language is crucial – be concise and clear with your messaging. Also consider where information is housed after it has been communicated – is it all in one easy to access place?
All of us have situations that will impact how we respond during a crisis. It’s also possible that you might not be aware of what all of these situations are. It’s important for employers to be compassionate, caring and understanding. Communication should be reassuring, empowering and give space for open dialogue. The goal is to ensure that employees who are struggling feel able to come forward and tell you. It can be as simple as taking the time to ask how they are, then stop, wait for an answer and listen to the response.
We’re designed for face-to-face human connection. Many of us are going to be struggling as our physical contact with friends, family and colleagues has been cut. It’s vital to stay connected to employees during this time – there is really no such thing as over-communication!
Our recent series of webinars to help employees navigate their financial health during this time found that 47 per cent of employees said they had received some communications from their employer, but would like more. Neyber (now part of the Salary Finance family) also recently surveyed 2,500 employees and found that 56 per cent wanted more communications about coronavirus.
Consider daily updates from seniors leaders, with weekly as a minimum. If you’re using digital communications, try and see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices as regularly as possible rather than just sending emails. It can also be easy to jump into business discussions when using digital channels, so encouraging employees to make space for human connections is key. Consider setting up virtual social groups - exercise classes, meditation sessions, quizzes or even virtual team drinks!
Top 10 tips to help your employees
Our head of financial education, Jason Butler, has put together 10 top tips to help employees think about their financial wellbeing during this critical time. Read Jason's tips now.