How to use emerging technologies to boost employees’ financial wellbeing
14 June 2017
Many employers want to support employees worrying about debt or struggling with both savings and pension planning, but aren’t sure how to do so most effectively
Employers increasingly understand the benefits of helping their staff improve their financial wellbeing. They know anxiety about debt, savings and retirement planning can contribute to stress and mental health problems, damaging employees’ productivity and raising absenteeism rates; and they recognise the value of being a supportive employer, with impacts such as improved staff morale and better recruitment and retention.
How, though, to deliver the most effective support? Employers need to target their financial wellbeing programmes to their workforce’s needs and to individual circumstances. Some staff may be ready for help with improving their retirement planning to get them on target for the income they expect in later life. But for others, the priority may need to be to pay down, or at least manage, expensive debt.
Technology can help solve this dilemma, giving employers access to tools that will help them to understand their employees in much more detail – and then to offer the most appropriate support, whether this is information about debt advice services, a referral to a pension specialist or guidance on suitable saving products.
Crucially, sophisticated profiling tools enable employers to build a very accurate financial snapshot of individual employees, without requiring them to disclose personal information or financial data, something many staff will feel uncomfortable with.
Armed with this profile, employers can develop targeted financial wellbeing programmes that are appropriate and relevant to the lifestyle and financial status of each employee. The data can even help employers and pension scheme trustees identify employers well-placed to increase their pension contributions or to take more investment risk.
These employer-side technologies, such as those in PwC’s Savings Lab, are now moving into the mainstream, securing real benefits for employers using them to engage more effectively with their employees. For the first time, employers are in a position to deliver the right support to the right people, enhancing employees' financial wellbeing and reaping the benefits of a better motivated and more productive workforce.