On Thursday 18th March we delivered our most successful event to date, ‘How to build the ultimate financial wellbeing programme’. With wonderful guest speakers from Vodafone, Saint-Gobain, Capgemini and Siemens.
The session explored recent financial wellbeing trends through a nudge user community lens, six practical steps to build the ultimate financial wellbeing programme and tangible programme insights from our panel on financial wellbeing successes. For your convenience, we’ve written-up the discussion so you can re-live the magic.
Financial wellbeing trends - through a nudge user community lens
We regularly investigate the behavioural changes of our 500k nudge community because it’s a brilliant indication of the thoughts and feelings of the wider public when it comes to personal finance.
We captured the year of Covid-19 through the lens of the nudge user community. At the beginning of March, we can see people were looking to the future ie. savings, mortgages investing. However, when the lockdown was announced in mid-March interests went defensive, so people were reading about budgeting and in the home. It is clear people were thinking - 'how do I make my money go further?'
In April, Governments started throwing money at the problem and our data reflected that more people wanted to read about what support was available for them and their wider family and friends. Sadly, in late April, when the majority of people are spending most of their day online, working from home, we can see a spike in scam-related articles. As we know, last year there was a significant increase in digital crime.
Equally, as people started to feel the pressure of homeschooling and working from home with partners, we saw a shift in family finances and divorce articles interest. Then in May, those who have been financially impacted show signs they are eating into savings by looking at articles on debt.
New year, new personal finance trends
If we jump to this year, 2021, there is a new trend that starts to emerge, the correlation between young people and investing. Accentuated by the over 61s notable disinterest in investing. We found this disparity in behaviour confirmed that pandemic has shaken the older generations deeper into risk aversion whereas the young ones are driven to find outlets for seeking thrills.
Our view is, organisations have a responsibility to their younger employees who haven’t experienced a financial crash, to point out the risks, rewards and aspects of investing that are so important to understand.
Women are perhaps the most financially impacted by the pandemic and taken the brunt of the financial hit. The news is revealing more insight on the: gender pay gap, gender pension gap and gender debt gap. If your company is prioritising diversity then financial gender equality through a financial wellbeing programme for women should be your focus.
Poll 1: Do you think your people have enough financial support?
How to build the ultimate financial wellbeing programme
We've distilled our programme planning experience and wisdom into the ultimate financial wellbeing programme. The playbook is six simple stages of research, planning, delivery and measurement written in a way that’s easy to follow and useful for any reward or benefit leaders at any stage in their programme planning. The sections cover:
Understand your people and outline your program objectives
Designing your programme
Choosing perfect programme partners
Rallying your stakeholders
Launching your programme and the communication plan
Monitoring, measuring and modifying your programme
Nicola Roche, Senior International Benefits Consultant, Siemens
Question for Gareth, Saint-Gobain: We’d like to understand a bit more about how you identified the need for financial support and your philosophy behind the strategy?
"We asked employees across the country what they thought about our benefits and what came out a number of times was ‘needing more support’ around finances - financial stress is the number one factor impacting wellbeing in many areas of our organisation. Historically, financial issues were considered as something that we can’t do much about - but we decided we needed to find out how we can do more to help. nudge was our way of addressing financial wellbeing both globally and locally. Our global CEO and UK and Ireland CEO are both championing the wellbeing agenda. Our HR Director is also CSR Director so we’re all very closely aligned and see financial wellbeing as something we have to do, rather than something we ought to do."
Question for Lindsay, Capgemini: Can you give us the background to your financial wellbeing journey?
"We held a workshop with our HR director and senior recruitment leads in the business in 2017 to review our benefits offering and overall reward package structure. This identified that financial education was a key gap in our wellbeing strategy. We then introduced two new financial wellbeing benefits back in 2018 - nudge for financial education and Salary Finance for borrowing and savings from salary. Since we launched nudge we’ve seen consistently high engagement, so it’s a no brainer that we would continue working with nudge."
And how would you use nudge to leverage your other wellbeing initiatives?
"We use nudge to raise awareness of our entire offering. For example, we use tailored and targeted communications during our benefits for renewal windows to help increase engagement and drive awareness of all of the other benefits that we have available.
Recently, our pensions team was looking to hold virtual workshops (to replace the physical London-based sessions in the past). When the pensions team reviewed the content on nudge, they were so impressed. So now the focus is on directing our employees to nudge because the information is just so much more inclusive."
Question for Georgia, Vodafone: Vodafone has done a good job tying some of your other initiatives together with financial education - how have you achieved that?
"We have a wellbeing wheel that captures physical, mental, financial. When we dig into the financial element of the wheel, we define it in four areas. Control of employee’s day-to-day finances, capacity to absorb financial shocks, confidence to make financial decisions and then keeping on track to meet their long-term financial goals.
When we review all of our benefit offerings holistically, there are multi-functioning initiatives that fall into different buckets so what I really love about nudge is the overarching piece that connects all those elements together.
We also work with a payroll loan provider and to launch the new benefit, we created a tailored campaign using nudge's financial education and saw some of the highest ever engagement statistics.
We have two Share Save windows that we run each year. We recognised that whilst people were engaging with the benefit they didn’t really understand how it works because Share Save can be quite technical. What we found really useful with nudge is we can do tailored communication to get to the basics and point people in the right direction to get further information.
We recently made some changes to our Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) pension scheme and again, we used nudge to tailor communications. To not only educate people on the specifics around our offering but also point to the support that was available through the platform. Not necessarily just in the form of education but also the savings tools, the budgeting tools, all those other things as well.
So every time we utilise nudge to pick up on a specific benefit, we've always seen a spike in our engagement."
Question for Nikki, Siemens: How has Siemens used financial education to highlight other areas of reward and wellbeing?
"We made changes to our pension scheme and we also worked on our share scheme launch and we use nudge to help us communicate different offers available to employees.
nudge supports us in three different ways. Firstly, with the ability to personalise the message to different employee groups, so that it's most relevant and simple to understand. Secondly, nudge gives us the ability to simplify the complex, ie. share schemes, to help people make decisions in the context of their wider finances. Thirdly, in pension contribution schemes, we got great feedback from people saying it's the first time that they have actually understood the schemes and also the first time they understood the difference between the schemes we offer.
Recently we ran a a three-part series with our health and safety team on the link between mental health and financial well-being.
We intend to continue working with nudge to find new opportunities, driven by our objectives, to enhance our benefits offering."
Question for Lindsay, Capgemini: How did you respond to Covid-19 for your people?
"We did a lot to help people to adapt to a new way of working. An example is how we welcomed our graduate and apprentice community to the company. We want our employees to get an amazing experience doing the early years programme so we had to quickly adapt and created a new virtual initiative called ‘Community Connect Live’.
Designed to provide the community with the skills needed to develop, in not just their professional life but also their personal life. We recognise that money management is critical and it's a challenge that all our young people face. We partnered with nudge to deliver a bespoke financial wellbeing masterclass. The team worked together on the content, tailoring to the younger workforce, giving them skills and knowledge to manage the money with more confidence.
Following the session, nudge sent personalised communications to the community to encourage them to build on the learning and make most of the education and the tools available. We got lots of really fantastic feedback from attendees as well."