4 November 2019
The pace of development within technology is astounding. Sometimes this can feel overwhelming as we try and keep pace with the new lingo, new providers in the market and all the new apps and services we now have available to us.
More and more employers are thinking about financial health as part of their wider employee wellbeing initiatives. However, with so many personal banking apps, money management tools and apps to help keep track on spending – where does an employer even begin to work out how technology can be used to help their employees?
Taking a step back and looking at your objectives as an employer is the first place to start. What type of organisation are you? What sort of relationship do you have with your workforce? And what benefits do you have in place already?
Most mainstream pension providers have tools available on their platforms to help with long term saving and retirement planning which is a great start. Some flexible benefit providers also have tools to help with savings and goal planning. Why not start by looking at what you’ve got access to already and then you can see if there are any areas you wish to add to.
There is a fine line between being 100% hands off and being seen as too controlling, which is why many organisations tend to air on the side of caution and steer well clear of anything else relating to personal finance. For me, it’s about providing products and services that support and enhance employee wellbeing and giving enough helpful information to enable your workforce to make their own choices as to what is and isn’t right for them and their situation. Even if it’s just providing a mechanism on your intranet or message boards for people to share their experiences and things they’ve found helpful with others – this is risk free as you’re not promoting a specific app or service, just allowing people to share their thoughts with their colleagues.
Below I have highlighted some of the latest apps, concepts and tech available in this area. The providers mentioned are an example of those available and are not promoted or recommended above any others.
Personal finance apps – there are a number of these popping up now including Bud, Emma, Money Dashboard, Revolut, Squirrel, Tandem and Yolt to name a few. These apps are designed to help individuals take control of their spending, budget their money and build their savings. They allow you to split your money off into pots to make sure you stay on track with your goals and some like ‘Emma’ can help you to cut down on wasteful subscriptions that aren’t being used; and Tandem who can help find better deals on things like your energy bills.
Online financial education and support – there are a number of organisations who can provide face to face financial education and an even larger number who provide online education. Whether it’s via an existing e-learning portal with bespoke finance related topics such as budgeting through to dedicated financial education provided by the likes of the Money Advice Service (now part of the Money and Pension Service). Companies like Nudge Global who provide additional opportunities to personalise content and provide communication tailored to the choices of their users. Providing enough information to help employees make smart well-informed decisions is key, even if this just relates to the benefits you offer rather than anything wider.
Discounts – apps like ‘CityMunch’ provide discounts and offers on food for workers in London, Bristol and Manchester. Apps like Groupon, Vouched For and Top Cashback also allow you to buy everyday items, personal care and experiences at reduced rates just by going through their apps.
Charity – there are also apps around that can help you support your favourite charity or club – initiatives like ‘easy fundraising’ allows you to buy your normal items through their app and for every purchase they will donate a small amount to your chosen charity or organisation (can be schools and children’s sports clubs). This can be positive for your wellbeing in knowing you are helping others.
So, from an employer’s perspective, it’s about providing an environment where people can share their experiences for the benefit of others and providing enough information to help them take control of their own finances in the way that suits their needs and lifestyle.