6 min read

Start strong: orient your financial wellbeing strategy with these 12 steps

Start strong: orient your financial wellbeing strategy with these 12 steps

If you’re a benefits or wellbeing professional getting started on a financial wellbeing strategy, this article will help shape your planning and research.

Strengthening your people’s benefits package with a financial wellbeing strategy can be overwhelming at first. Finances are complex. People even more so.

In this article, we’ll break down the 12 steps of building a financial wellbeing strategy at your organisation – from first steps, to key decisions and ongoing improvements – pairing common concerns of each stage with resources to help move you forward. 




First steps: start with the big picture



1. Be clear on ‘the why’

Getting started can be overwhelming. But being clear on ‘the why’ can help.

As you start your financial wellbeing strategy, identify why you want to create one in the first place. How will it help your organisation and its people? If all goes according to plan, how will things look and feel different where you work?

Our article Financial wellbeing at work: best strategies to support your employees covers some of the top reasons why you might want to, though yours may differ. 

I) Boost employee retention

II) Increase workforce productivity

III) Attract new recruits and improve your employer brand

IV) Help your employees reduce financial stress and live their best lives 


2. Know your data points

It’s also good to be clear on trends outside your control that make having a financial wellbeing strategy necessary: changing economic conditions and employee benefit demand. This will help you situate your plans within a wider context. The cost of living crisis is hurting your employees’ finances – all the while, more employees want their financial health to be supported.

Our CIPD-cited report on workplace wellbeing, entitled The Workplace Today: Why It Pays to Support Staff Financial Health, reveals that as many as one in five employees say they’ll look for a new, higher-paying job in the next 12 months if the cost of living crisis worsens.

Further, employees are spending an average of three-and-a-half working days annually carrying out personal finance tasks, while at work.

Our data also shows that money worries are impacting as many as two-thirds (67%) of employees while at work, making them less productive, more likely to take sick days, and more likely to feel undervalued.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming four out of five (81% of) employees say a financial wellbeing programme would increase their satisfaction at work.


3. Measuring your financial wellbeing strategy

No strategy is complete without metrics to measure its success – be clear on what you want to measure before you roll out your strategy, so that you set up appropriate metrics to track them.

Our article How to measure the ROI of financial wellbeing may help when charting the metrics you want to evaluate, as you roll out your financial wellbeing strategy.

In the article, we recommend ways of measuring the following:

  • Employee attrition (it should decrease)
  • Candidate interviews booked (it should increase)
  • Offer acceptance rate (it should increase)
  • Quality of hires (it should improve)
  • Number of employee referrals (it should increase)
  • Employee performance (it should improve)
  • Company culture (it should improve)


If you just want a quick snapshot of the ROI financial wellbeing could bring you, try out our financial wellbeing ROI calculator. This uses data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and other official sources, to predict how much money you could save your people and business. Your results will differ depending on which industry you’re in, how many people you employ and your average employee age and salary, which the calculator takes into account.


4. Avoid wellbeing washing

Our recent survey, published in People Management, found that as many as one in three businesses have been wellbeing washing – the phenomenon of businesses creating a false impression that their track record on supporting their employees' wellbeing is better than it (really) is.

Seven in 10 organisations are publicly celebrating mental health awareness days, posting on social media and having coffee mornings, while just one in three have mental health support their employees consider any good.

The lesson here is that it’s essential that you do not overhype your employee wellbeing efforts – without practising what you preach. Doing so can harm your reputation as an employer in the long run. Resist all management pressures to participate in wellbeing washing

Instead, help stakeholders see the value in focusing on (actually) helping improve your employees’ financial wellbeing first. Talk about your work publicly when you’re confident your employees will stand by what you say.




Key decisions: putting plans into action



5. Figure out what kind of support your employees need

What kind of support do your employees need? 

As we cover in our article Financial wellbeing at work: best strategies to support your employees, there are many directions you can go in when offering your people support. For example:

  1. Financial education
  2. Financial guidance and coaching
  3. Help with budgeting
  4. Access to premium financial content
  5. Access to financial rewards and discount schemes
  6. Pension programme and support
  7. Access to insurance deals
  8. Financial advice
  9. Financial products like savings and investment accounts
  10.  Employee assistance programmes and helplines


According to former CIPD president Professor Cary Cooper, the best kinds of financial support include access to a one-to-one service.

You can survey employees on what problems they're currently facing, and tailor the support you choose around them. You can also get expert help on how your programme could look from Claro Wellbeing.


6. Keep up engagement over time

Financial wellbeing is all about habit building. So when you plan any financial wellbeing activities, factor in key financial dates across the year. These will help you keep your activities relevant to the specific personal finance obstacles your employees might be facing at any given time.

To do this, you can try diarising all the main dates that could affect your team in a calendar format. Our 2023 personal finance calendar has 27 important dates to get you started. 

The point is not to plan something around every date in the calendar. Instead, decide which dates to prioritise offering support for. This will help you show your employees you care about and understand their challenges.


7. Get your team aligned on choosing a provider to support you

Depending on the size of your team and the amount of financial wellbeing support needed, you might find having an external financial wellbeing provider a valuable way to accelerate your strategy.

There are many different types of support you can go with – from Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) providers, to pensions, insurance, financial coaching and comprehensive financial wellbeing packages. 

If you’re considering Claro Wellbeing as a potential provider, you can use our comparison charts to understand how we differ from the other, main types of financial wellbeing providers.


8. Get buy-in from your team, the finance department and the CFO

When it comes to getting buy-in, help other teams see your strategy as an exercise in problem-solving. Help position them as valuable input-givers, there to make collaborative decisions with you.

It’s great to use a simple structure to make your case for procuring a new provider. Here’s one we recommend:

I) Set out the problem – what problems do your team currently face in terms of their personal finances (e.g. money worries) and business (e.g. low employee productivity)?

II) Create a plan – what do you plan to do to address these problems, and how will different parts of the plan deal with different problems? What makes the provider you have selected most likely to be able to support your plan?

III) Identify key outcomes – what do you think is most likely to happen as a result of implementing this plan and how will you measure its success?

IV) Iterate and improve – how often will you review these outcomes and what do you plan to do if actual progress does not materialise?




Ongoing improvements: making your strategy a success



9. Create ways to collect feedback

Feedback is essential to the success of wellbeing programmes. One way to get it is to train a few team members as Financial First Aiders.

A Financial First Aider is someone who champions open conversations about money and facilitates financial wellbeing initiatives in your organisation. They ensure every employee feels listened to and act as a go-to when people are experiencing financial difficulty or just want some guidance. 

This is a particularly beneficial feedback mechanism to bring into your financial wellbeing strategy, because not only do Financial First Aiders act as the feedback loop of your financial wellbeing programme and activities, so that you can continually improve your strategy, but they also help more employees make use of financial education and resources.


10. Help normalise conversations around financial wellbeing

Money is one of the biggest causes of stress in many of our lives. Yet so few of us talk about it openly. 

Our article on How to speak to your team about personal finances is essential for every HR team, management team and Financial First Aider. 


11. Support wider organisation initiatives

It’s useful to make the case for how your strategy is supporting other pre-existing, organisation-wide initiatives. This is also a sure-fire way to win friends in other departments and gain influence inside your organisation.

You can show how your financial wellbeing strategy supports your organisation’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, as education-focussed financial wellbeing programmes commonly do.


12. Review how you’re measuring your success

It’s good to continually review the key metrics for your financial wellbeing strategy – and make your assessments. In particular, check out how employees have been engaging with your programme. See if there are any opportunities to improve this. 

If your original approach to measurement is not proving the most useful, there are additional ways to measure financial wellbeing.

Organisations’ priorities change, so it’s also worth reviewing whether the metrics and strategy goals are still the most relevant to measure. For example, the more competitive job market has seen many employees more likely to hold onto the role they currently have, so employee attrition, while still important, is less pertinent than it was during the Great Resignation. 

However, as many organisations seek increased operational efficiency and employee productivity to get through challenging market conditions, organisations should consider treating things like employee productivity and motivation as important goals of a successful financial wellbeing programme.

Summing up, as you get started, you need to:

1. Be clear on ‘the why’

2. Know your data points

3. Measuring your financial wellbeing strategy

4. Avoid wellbeing washing


As you start bringing your plans to life, you need to:

5. Figure out what kinds of support your employees need

6. Keep up engagement over time

7. Get your team aligned on choosing a provider to support you

8. Get buy-in from your team, the finance department and the CFO


To make your strategy a success in the long-term:

9. Create ways to collect feedback

10. Help normalise conversations around financial wellbeing

11. Support wider organisation initiatives

12. Review how you’re measuring your success



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