Kiarna Tarr, senior communication consultant at Like Minds, and Jo Thresher, director at Better with Money, explain their tips to help you when considering your financial wellbeing communications.
The success of a financial wellbeing programme rests largely with how it’s communicated to employees. Get the messages wrong, or use ineffective communication channels, and the likelihood is that employee engagement will be minimal.
1. Never assume knowledge
Did you know that, on average, people are more likely to remember the names of the Beckham children than their own mortgage interest rate? Why might this be the case? Our brains use a number of automatic mechanisms to remember certain information, while everything else less interesting or not essential for our survival naturally fades away.
So when it comes to communicating financial wellbeing, firstly, use the element of surprise to grab attention. Think about the message you’re putting out – make it memorable and, where possible, make it fun.
Secondly, it’s best to start your communication by assuming little or no knowledge of the subject in hand. Don’t be concerned that you’re being patronising as people will most likely appreciate the refresh.
2. Stay clear of ‘wellbeing week’
As the latest research shows, diets don’t work, but healthy long-term habits do. Just as a detox week will not have much long-term impact on your health goals, a ‘wellbeing week’ won’t do much good either.
Long-term habits and lifestyle change is key, and an ongoing communication strategy will give you the maximum impact. The best way to embed new habits is through…
Reminders: Send people weekly tips, monthly nudges; make wellbeing a normal part of their week.
Routine: Encourage conversation around the office, and include it whenever healthcare, pensions and other benefits are mentioned. Always communicate in a consistent way.
Rewards: Make it competitive, offer a reward for good behaviour and give people something to celebrate.
3. Use your armour
Look at what resources you already have access to internally. Anything you put in place should complement your existing tools and fit with who you are as an organisation.
Do you have lots of offsite employees? Don’t run lunch and learns for the few onsite. Embrace technology and run online sessions instead.
Do people ignore your emails? Put messages out through team leaders. Think about using a social network tool such as Facebook Workplace to connect people.
4. Speak to payroll
Treat payroll as a friend. They have hidden knowledge from all of the questions they’re asked. Common questions include: “Can you help me understand my tax/pension deductions/student loan?” or “Can I get an advance?”.
This information is really useful to have when it comes to putting together a communication strategy. Focus on educating people on the most popular topics first and measure all the payroll queries regularly.
5. Ask for help
If you want to seek external help with your programme, think about the bigger picture rather than quick fixes. Spend the time working out a strategy to achieve the financial wellbeing objectives of your organisation; that’s the only way that you’ll make long-term positive change.