Adam Mason

Adam Mason

Professional Services Director

At the Employee Experience Hackathon, our opening keynote speaker, Gemma Godfrey, spoke to us about building behavioural change through financial education.

Gemma is Founder & CEO of Moola, the saving and investment service. She’s also adviser to Arnold Schwarzenegger, money expert on ITV’s ‘Eat, Shop, Save’, and has her own new Channel 4 show ‘My Money Makeover’. As if that’s not enough, she’s also a quantum physicist in her spare time.

The underestimated skill of listening

Gemma highlighted the importance of listening – really listening – to hear what people want so we can deliver it. The old way of working, of being locked in a room in an ivory tower thinking up an idea to sell is dead.

People want to take back control and we’ve been finding that money has been one of the first areas they want to focus on. It’s the area where the need is felt most acutely, in everything they do. Out of 18 million online discussions about money, half of them were requests for advice. Where traditionally, financial advisors could be called upon to step in, the problem is now lying at the feet of a company’s HR department. People are struggling to help themselves, due to the dramatic lack of financial literacy, but it’s not their fault. Financial services are full of jargon & obstacles, rather than being understandable, simple and accessible.

Gemma highlighted that, at their core, financial goals show a desire for security and freedom, so we can sleep well at night. Positioned this way, the ability to put money away so we can maintain a level of lifestyle when we stop working, all on our own terms, is also a lot more appealing. The way to achieve these goals is simple too. With coaching, setting aside some payroll, and growing these savings, a wide range of needs and aspirations can be supported.

And so, when it came to my presentation around workplace wellbeing, I saw the need to speak about joining together all of your wellbeing components to create a well-rounded programme for your employees.

We log into an average of 29 separate systems at work; 50% of which are HR-related. But within these systems, wellbeing tends not to have a specific home. It’s become like a dot-to-dot, scattered across the organisation, and so we need to start thinking about creating a linked-up, holistic scheme at work.

Reactive vs. Proactive wellbeing

Historically, platforms have simply brought together a collection of wellbeing products, and then given them a central hub to live in; a place to transact.

The focus now is to bring together content to create a joined-up employee journey. No longer placing the focus on the employee to self-discover what is available to them, and the steps they need to take. This journey should bring together not just the traditional flexible benefits offered by an employer, but the wider offering; for example, a free day’s holiday on your birthday. If these types of offerings were promoted further, they would demonstrate the employer’s commitment to the wellbeing of their employees.

So, how do we get employees involved and interested? We need to purposefully design what we call engagement ‘loops’ to ensure our people are constantly going through this cycle of Learn, Plan, and Do when it comes to their own wellbeing:

Using OneHub to deliver a market-leading employee experience

We’ve seen a number of clients start to build out their OneHub site to capture and signpost the wider offering. This could be enhancing an existing offering, or, it could be using communications to provide details of the wider funded elements as well as transactional ones.

Content pages are seeing increased usage, as they have great flexibility, such as showcasing videos; something as simple as the occupational health team talking about their role in the business; or testimonials from existing staff, talking about some of the activities that are going on to support wellbeing. Or we could simply be taking the employee through what otherwise may be a disconnected offering. Like giving our people the opportunity to be educated on an available product before linking through to that provider and learning more.

Tailored communications

We have seen our clients use targeted communications – delivered at key points throughout the year – to start building a campaign of content which supports the education of their employees, and signposts how they might be able to use these offerings to take actions. When using the Communications Manager within the platform, we can segment recipients, but also track engagement with the content. So, you can understand who is engaging with that content and who isn’t. This is crucial in executing a campaign and ensuring we learn from it and build upon it in future.

As an example, we worked with a client to deliver some specific communications promoting the importance of pension saving. The focus was less on the product itself, but on education; enabling employees to make better-informed decisions. Then, in situations where there’s been a change, such as contribution level increases,, we’ve used a video embedded within the content to highlight those changes. This kind of content, which previously would have been limited to an unscalable face-to-face approach is now delivered in a way that captures the personal elements of a presenter, but delivered on a mass scale.

Looking to the future

We see a role for AI in areas such as health and wellbeing or financial education, albeit aspirational at this time. In particular, we see how an automated search may build upon the current capability of an employee support centre, thereby offering employees the chance to self-diagnose their queries. AI is one of those terms that immediately worries people, however when we consider the ubiquity of systems like Siri and Alexa, we can start to think about how this kind of technology – which now slots into our everyday lives outside of work – can play its part in workplace wellbeing.

Adam Mason

Adam Mason

Professional Services Director

Adam joined the Benefex family having spent his career-to-date in professional services with Grant Thornton UK LLP. His experience is in leading client relationships, and working with dynamic and growing businesses to support them in realising their growth ambitions. Having previously qualified as a Chartered Accountant, Adam was selected to serve a term as President of the Southern Society of Chartered Accountants last year. Adam leads our award-winning Communications, Consulting, and Implementations teams, to ensure we remain a key voice in the market.

A couple of things you might now know about Adam: his wife works for an animal charity, so he’s often fostering puppies and kittens (we’re not at all jealous). He’s also a member at Hampshire Cricket, and is a life-long Swindon Town fan, but he doesn’t let that get him down.