18 October 2023

Two sides of the same coin: financial wellbeing and mental health

Financial wellbeing week 2024, blog header showing a shopping basket with a calendar, heart and a piggy bank inferring money.

With almost three quarters of UK adults (65%) saying their mental health has been impacted this year as a result of their financial situation, and 67% saying this was directly affecting their ability to concentrate at work, there’s room for employers to be doing a lot more to support the wellbeing of their employees.

Building trust

‘Mental health washing’ is where employers talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, is a massive problem in the modern workplace. A fifth of FTSE 1000 companies post about mental health on their social channels on specific awareness days, but then don’t mention it again for the rest of the year.  

“World Mental Health Day serves as a vital reminder of the duty of care employers have for their employees, but any offerings or services in place to help should also be openly discussed all year round to remove the stigma associated with using them,” says Anton Roe, CEO of MHR. 

With 79% of employees saying they don’t believe their employers when they say they care about mental health, it’s clearly an issue that impacts a huge range of organisations.  

 “Employers who are not seen as proactive and genuine in dealing with this crisis will suffer long term consequences as employees vote with their feet and look elsewhere for those who are,” adds Roe. 

So how do you build that trust? 

The crucial thing to do is understand what has the biggest impact on your employee’s mental wellbeing. According to our research, financial wellbeing is one of the biggest causes of stress to an employee, which has massive knock-on effect on their general wellbeing.  

Nearly half of employees surveyed (46.1%) say they’ve missed a bill because they either weren’t paid correctly or on time. 

For employees living pay cheque to pay cheque, if they’re not stressing about how they’re going to pay their bills, they will be better able to focus on work.  

But employers still haven’t cottoned on to the fact how entwinned these two ideas are.  

What can you do?

While there are loads of options available for supporting mental wellbeing at work, helping employees with their financial wellbeing will have a huge impact for everyone. 

There are two approaches you can take. 

Firstly, you can update your payroll systems to maximise accuracy. Real-time payroll being a particularly powerful solution in addressing outdated and manual processes. Real-time payroll makes it a lot easier for employees to understand exactly what they’ve earnt through the pay cycle. This combines brilliantly with interactive payslips, which helps demystify the whole process and helps them to plan for the future. 

Removing data silos and finding ways to make the payroll cycle less stressful are also key steps. By doing this,  your payroll team are less prone to making errors, ensuring everyone gets paid correctly, on time, every time. 

Secondly, financial wellbeing packages are a great offering that show employees you’re serious about helping them. These solutions provide employees with access to earned money when they need it and the tools to build their own financial literacy and give them extra resilience. 

For example, offering anonymous financial coaching can help them to understand budgeting. Flexible pay policies (where employees can access wages they’ve earned ahead of pay day), can also help them withstand sudden unexpected bills. This extra peace of mind will lead to much happier employees. 

Financial Wellbeing from MHR integrates with our HR and payroll platforms, providing you with a seamless solution to all your employee wellbeing needs. Working with Wagestream, we’re able to provide your organisation with everything they need to turn words about mental health and financial wellbeing into real action that helps your employees. 

People First offers robust integrated tools that enable easier and more purposeful employee check-ins, helping you foster a culture of support. That can also help you create a stronger, more holistic picture of your company. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Financial Wellbeing from MHR can help you, check out our guide to Wagestream.

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Emma Reid

Content writer at MHR

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