The link between financial concerns and workplace productivity continues to put pressure on employers to really look at the financial wellbeing of their employees. But what is it that employees are looking for support with? Most companies offer a pension scheme of some description which is no doubt an important part of financial wellbeing package. But out of the 91% of employees who are worried about money, only 9% of 18-35 year olds say that saving for retirement is their number one financial priority (1). So, what can be done to meet the needs of all employees when it comes to their own financial priorities?
Gattaca has the answer. Gattaca helps companies by providing collaborative workforce solutions and recruitment services to the engineering and tech markets. Given its expertise, the understanding that your people are your most important asset is at the centre of Gattaca company values. That’s why their financial wellbeing strategy has been so successful.
This is how they did it and how you can do it too.
It can be difficult to bring benefits to the attention of employees. With a predominantly younger workforce in a commission-based environment, this was definitely the case for Gattaca. As a sales-driven organisation, employees are conscious that time means money, so benefits offerings must be easy to access and time-effective. The benefits team wanted to make sure its financial employee benefits were fit for purpose, that spend was well-utilised and that they were providing creative options for their employees to ensure they met the lifestyle needs of the whole of their workforce, while supporting organisational objectives.
Support your employees to support the business…basically, what goes around, comes around – and we mean in a good way. Gattaca’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) includes the wellbeing pillar. By supporting employees’ overall wellbeing, they’re in a better position to help the business achieve its organisational objectives. Supporting employee wealth management is an integral part of this. Boosting their financial wellbeing strategy with benefits that enable short to mid-term as well as long-term savings goals, meant that Gattaca could incentivise their young workforce to achieve their savings goals without impacting on the results of a commission-based environment.
All you need to do is ask! Surveys and focus groups really helped Gattaca to understand the needs of their workforce. They found that the biggest financial issue for their employees was cost of living and so it was understandable when employees told them their main priority was ‘lifestyle benefits’. They also wanted regular communications about the benefits available to them. Cue relevant, timely emails, workshops, benefits roadshows, onsite support, and tailored one-to-one financial education sessions. By asking the right questions and listening to their employees, Gattaca experienced a 50% increase in the number of people taking up one-to-one sessions.
Ok so it’s a tenuous link, but what we mean here is that it’s all about choice, flexibility and targeted support so that employees achieve a better state of wellbeing. Pensions are undeniably important, and retirement is the priority for certain employees. By offering targeted support, Gattaca was able to help employees switch pension schemes resulting in a saving of over £14k on employee annual management charges. But the majority of Gattaca employees are under the age of 35, and the cost of living is the overwhelming financial concern. So, the benefits team needed to cater for them as well. They introduced Smarterly as a complement to pensions to help with shorter-term goals e.g. all those things that happen on the way to retirement. Through Smarterly, employees have access to a range of ISAs including the Lifetime ISA which supports first time buyers, which many of Gattaca’s employees are, as well as Junior and Investment ISAs for the wider demographic, to help all employees take control of their finances. The Lifetime ISA is a huge benefit for people looking to buy their first homes. It includes a whopping 25% government bonus on savings and it’s all tax-free! Over 50% of employees who signed up were millennials saving for lifetime events such as buying a first home.
But you can get pretty darn close. The benefits team introduced a spending account, giving employees the freedom to choose where and what to spend their benefits allowance on for their personal wellbeing. And then Gattaca went one step further, giving employees exactly what they want. National Insurance Contributions (NIC) savings made by the business were historically paid back to employees by default into their pensions. But now employees can choose to direct these savings into their spending account. Everyone’s idea of wellbeing is different. The spending account has allowed employees to pay for the essentials such as MOTs as well as things that improve mental wellbeing such as being able to afford family trips.
You know what we mean. As much as you and your organisation really want to give employees a top notch experience when it comes to working at your company, we all have to be realistic about how much we can offer. Benefits impact the bottom line. Why do we always see that as a negative thing? You need to think how benefits impact the bottom line in a positive way. A happy workforce equals increased productivity which ultimately means a workforce that’s more likely to help achieve organisational goals (remember ‘Linking financial wellbeing to organisational goals’?). With zero budget to increase benefit allowance, the Gattaca benefits team had to think of alternative ways to support employees. A discounted shopping portal helps with everyday costs and the Smarterly workplace savings benefits means employees are supported in building healthy savings habits for financial stability when it comes life events and the unexpected, at no cost to Gattaca. It even caters for high earners e.g. your boss.
So, there we have it. By putting your workforce at the centre and asking them they want, you can start to build a financial benefits offering that:
Has something for everyone, no matter what life stage
Supports your employees to take control of their finances
Addresses all their financial concerns
(1) Realigning the workplace savings offering to meet the needs of millennials