Carl Chapman, associate & head of workplace health, Barnett Waddingham writes a blog series explaining what wellbeing really means
Barnett Waddingham's Carl Chapman is writing a blog series on Eudaimonia using the Greek alphabet as a reference point to give insight into how this old concept can significantly improve your business performance by maximising output from your greatest asset.
Ρ ρ – rho
The Greek letter rho is used in both mathematics and economics and owing to this I want to focus this section of the blog on finance or more accurately financial security.
Helpfully financial wellness has taken prominence in recent years and more employers are taking notice of financial insecurity in the here and now. In the past retirement was as far as companies would go in relation to financial security and that was because legislation dictated they must.
However retirement isn’t something that troubles those in the 20’s and 30’s and especially those who are trying to pay off student debt, lifestyle debt or trying to save for their first home. I am not saying that funding for retirement isn’t important; we all know it is, but how can you encourage employees to increase pension contributions and take ownership of their retirement from a young age when they have other more pressing financial burdens?
I won’t profess to be an expert on this and my wealth colleagues would probably shudder if I started going into too much technical detail but the point is a valid one and one worth raising.
Education is important but it only goes so far, telling someone they are in debt isn’t particularly helpful as they will already be aware, what they need is help getting out of debt and supporting education to help them manage their money better in the future if that is what has caused the problem.
With the lifetime ISA or LISA on the horizon (probably!) and with more products available to provide employer sponsored loans, perhaps now is the time to consider whether your strategy needs to focus on immediate financial security as much as it does on future financial security.
Σ σ/ς – sigma
Hopefully some of you will know that Sigma are a British drum and base duo who in 2014 had a number 1 hit with “Nobody to Love”. If you weren’t aware you will just have to take my word for it. Let’s tenuously link this to line management.
If you work for a big organisation that has lots of levels of middle management it can be very difficult to get the right message conveyed from the very top down to the employees.
If we think about a wellbeing and benefits strategy we need our line managers to understand and be trained on that strategy as they are the ones that have the direct contact with the employees and will often pick up or be told about issues before anyone else in the business is made aware. Are line managers equipped with the skills and knowledge to do this? Unfortunately they are often not.
I myself manage a team and I am in the fortunate position that I know all about the intervention products we provide, I am aware of what support is available in terms of prevention and I know how to access each of them. I know this because it is my area of expertise, for most it is obviously not and therefore they rely on the business to train them.
I think most line managers do a great job and our latest survey backs this up with the vast majority of employees saying that their line manager is supportive. However empathy only goes so far and my advice would be that if you start to build a wellbeing strategy for your business, ensure that your line managers are involved.