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55: Protecting Financial Well-being Amid the Cost of Living Crisis

In today’s episode, we’re shining a spotlight on a critical issue – financial well-being in the midst of the cost of living crisis.

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The UK’s Premier Event for Mental Health & Wellbeing Leaders

In today’s episode, we’re shining a spotlight on a critical issue – financial well-being in the midst of the cost of living crisis. We’ll be discussing five red flags that may indicate your employees are facing financial challenges, and we have a panel of experts ready to shed light on these crucial matters.

Segment 1: You Don’t Have the Data

  • Our first red flag points to the importance of data. Without accurate and up-to-date information on your employees’ financial well-being, it’s challenging to take meaningful action. Our experts will discuss the significance of collecting data and ways to do it effectively.

Segment 2: No One Is Talking About It

  • In this segment, we tackle the issue of silence. Often, financial struggles go unspoken, and as a result, they can escalate. We explore the role of open communication and how fostering a safe space for employees to discuss their financial concerns can make a significant difference.

Segment 3: Treating Symptoms, Not the Problem

  • One of the red flags that often goes unnoticed is treating symptoms rather than addressing the root causes of financial stress. We’ll delve into the importance of identifying and solving underlying issues rather than just providing quick fixes.

Segment 4: Poorly Communicating Benefits

  • The benefits and support offered by employers can be a lifeline for employees facing financial challenges. However, if these benefits aren’t effectively communicated, they might as well not exist. We’ll discuss strategies for clear and effective communication.

Segment 5: Not Linking to Learning and Development

  • Our final red flag suggests that learning and development opportunities can play a crucial role in improving financial well-being. We’ll explore how aligning these opportunities with your employees’ financial goals can have a positive impact.


In conclusion, financial well-being is not just a personal concern; it’s a critical factor in employee satisfaction and overall business success. By paying attention to these five red flags, you can protect the financial well-being of your employees and foster a workplace culture that truly cares.

Stay tuned for some invaluable insights from our expert panel.


Connect with Professor Sir Cary Cooper:

Connect with Khushboo Patel–patel//

Connect with Ryan Briggs

Link to the 2023 Financial Wellbeing Report


All the links mentioned in the show.

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The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

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Speaker 1 0:00
Say I would have taken the job at this place, but ended up ending up with four kids probably would have stayed with two. But say I would have four that would have been would have cost me caused me a lot of problems

Speaker 2 0:20
Hello, and welcome to the truth lies and workplace culture podcast brought to you by of course the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I am a business psychologist,

Al Elliott 0:31
and my name is owl and I am a business owner.

Speaker 2 0:35
We are here to help you simplify the science of people and create amazing workplace cultures.

Al Elliott 0:39
Yep, so welcome back to yet another episode. Another week company has weeks gone by I mean, we said that we said the August lasted forever, but September seems to be going super quick, just to make up. So what are we talking about today? Lee?

Speaker 2 0:54
Yeah, it really is second week of September. I think what freaks me out about September is up. It’s October next month. And that feels like countdown to Christmas, which is just like I’m sure it was like June last week.

Al Elliott 1:04
Yeah, yeah, there’s, it does go faster time of year. We aren’t gonna be talking today about what we’re referring back to one of the first episodes we did maybe the 12th 14th episode we did. It’s called work from home. And it was the impact of the cost of living crisis. It is I think, still today one of the most downloaded episodes that we’ve had. And so we thought, well, let’s revisit that. And we’ve now obviously met up with a few more experts around that around financial well being around whose job it is, was the leaders, the person or the company, whatever. And so Leanne said, why don’t we do an entire episode on this?

Speaker 2 1:41
Yeah, so we initially talked about this, I think it’s actually last October, so almost 12 months ago, we talked about his work from home dad, the impact of the cost of living crisis and the cost of living crisis continues. People in the UK people around the world are really struggling with decreases in disposable incomes. And, and for some, that does mean that people are being pushed into debt and in some cases poverty. So as a business, you know, it’s important to be mindful of what does that mean to you? What impact does financial wellbeing have on your people on their performance on the culture of your business? Even your bottom line? Why should you as a leader care about financial well being Yeah, and

Al Elliott 2:18
this is going to be a slightly heavier episode than some of the August one of the biggest ones kept them light because you’re probably on vacation, stroke holidays, you don’t be listening to anything too deep in in in August. So but we are going to deep dive a little bit deeper into this because financial wellbeing is probably going to continue to be an issue for the next few years. I don’t think any secret that it looks like most most of the major countries are going into recession or if not recession, at least flat growth. Energy price high rents are high. You see if you go on Twitter, or Facebook or Instagram or anything like that, you will see people complaining about their rent bout just struggling to make ends meet. So we are joined by an amazing guest Professor Sir Carrie Cooper. Now there’s a story which Leanne will probably tell you at some point around this. But here’s the 50th anniversary professor of the organizational psychology and health at Alliance Manchester business school what title and Leanne went to the lines Manchester business school, didn’t you to do your MSC I did

Speaker 2 3:17
I often forget that I went to business school. It’s kind of cool in it. But yeah, no, no professors. So Carrie Cooper, huge icon in the psychology world can’t quite believe he agreed so quickly to be on the podcast. Sadly, he left Manchester business school the year I joined. So while he was one of the reasons I decided to just read that I didn’t have the privilege privilege of studying and him. So yeah, so I was very excited this interview, and then I got food poisoning. And I was really really ill. So I couldn’t well had to do it. So I still have yet to meet Professor so karaoke but but I am very happy that he’s on podcast.

Al Elliott 3:52
Yeah. And he did say at the very end of the interview, don’t worry, um, we will make it happen. So that will happen at some point soon.

Speaker 2 3:58
So yeah, unbelievable that we have Professor Sir Carrie Cooper on the show. But we are also joined by two other incredible guests. We are joined by Khushboo Patel, who is head of engagement and inclusion at Metro Bank, and Ryan Briggs, who is the founder and financial education and well being lead at fin Well, yep. So

Al Elliott 4:16
we’re meeting our guests very, very shortly, but first, it’s our favorite time of the week.

Unknown Speaker 4:21
Round up that jingle.

Al Elliott 4:25
Okay, Leah, what have we got

Speaker 2 4:27
keeping it short this week, but a lot of cool stuff to get through. But I do have a word of the week or the week late. So I do have to thank Alexis Zeinab for this on we connect on LinkedIn. She is she’s very cool. She’s a leadership and culture expert. She’s a co director of human leaders. She is the business partner of Sally who we had back in our burnout episode. We’re like Sally, you do and she’s also a top 20 voice of LinkedIn 2022 So a bit of a cheese so I saw her post this and I was like, like says Can I have that for the Word of the Week, please? And she was like, Sure. So this is this thanks to Alexis, I think you’ll like this one. Are you ready? Yes, the word is subtle.

Al Elliott 5:10
I like that. I like was that like sound like tabard and porcupine? Say it again? Buddle as in. And if we were Southern, we’d say spatzle Burdell. And if we were American was ace, but I’m going to try to attempt that accent. So what the hell does spiddal mean?

Speaker 2 5:25
So as Buddle was coined in the 17th century, it means to work in effectively to be extremely busy whilst achieving absolutely nothing.

Al Elliott 5:33
And we all know someone like that. Yeah, I’m not looking at you. I’m just I think I think everyone knows someone who’s like, oh my god, I’m smiling. I’m so busy. Just one of my one of my pet pets. pet hates or pet peeves? Pet heaps? What is when you say to someone, how’s things? They go, Oh, I’m so busy. I’m so busy. It’s like, Oh, shut up, man. You’ve just been you’ve just been in debt. Now.

Speaker 2 5:55
I must admit, I do struggle on people. And also when people go, you’re busy. I’m like, No. Like, I’m being kept. I’m being kept busy enough. But am I rushed off my feet? No, that is a choice I’m intentionally made.

Al Elliott 6:10
Exactly, exactly. It’s almost like, oh, no, I’m so busy. And therefore I’m so important. I see quite a few people on Twitter who say, Oh, one of the biggest problems I’ve got is that I’ve got so many ideas and just not enough time to implement them off. Friend, exactly. Ideas are cheap. Anyway. Sorry, back to smuggle. So yes, thank

Speaker 2 6:27
you to Alexis for that one. Do go and follow her on LinkedIn. I will leave a link in the show notes. And you’ll be able to see her original post as well. Which is quite an interesting take on on the terms Buddle ones look out for but a nice nice word. Perhaps troubling definition now, but very enjoyable word to say.

Al Elliott 6:47
We like that. We like that. Oh, sorry. What else we got leaves? Well, I

Speaker 2 6:52
have a little announcement we have a little announcement out we do. So truth lives and workplace culture has been invited to the sixth annual Mad World Summit happening October 12. In London, UK.

Al Elliott 7:05
Yeah, we went to the sister show the water cooler. If you’ve listened to any one of our podcasts over the last six months, you’ll hear probably a guest from the water cooler. What we basically did was put ourselves we well there was a lovely guy called Gary from oboe life, who provided us with a little booth and we set it up as a podcast studio at on site, which we’re gonna be doing again this time.

Speaker 2 7:26
We are if you haven’t heard of the Mad World Summit, it basically exists to shift the whole conversation around mental health in the workplace from stigma to solutions. So very much a focus on fresh thinking join during a new professionals into the field whilst also building their capability and empowering those who are already here to find more effective solutions for employee mental health, wellbeing and culture. The event is really full packed. It’s just a one day event, but my goodness, they have packed it in there are real life case studies. There’s a whole all the talks are going to focus on an understanding of best practice and work and worst practice. And also lots of insights into strategies that actually delivering tangible benefits, which is all going to be about very much like the watercooler all about those tangible results with actually having an impact on employee well being. So we as I said, we’ll be partnering again with our friends at oboe to record the tree live on workplace culture podcast from the event itself. And we will try and bring you some exclusive content from the speakers and what a lineup Have you seen.

Al Elliott 8:30
I have what have we got Heathrow Airport, L’Oreal Warner Brothers. Yeah. Lloyds HSBC bank, Lloyd’s of London.

Speaker 2 8:38
Yeah, absolutely. There are so many people to name a few. Dr. Sarah Hughes from mind, heavy a heavy a curvey. He’s a CFO at Heathrow Airport. Malcolm staves is a global VP of health and safety at L’Oreal. And of course, we’ll be reconnecting with some of our favorite truth and lies alumni, including Karen Sancto, from Microsoft, Ryan Hopkins from Deloitte and Khushboo Patel, who is our guest this episode.

Al Elliott 9:06
We love Khushboo she’s so such a lovely labor so knowledgeable and she’s, she’s really cool. You’re going to love it. So if you do want to go which, by the way you do, if you’re in the UK, we’re not in the UK, and we’re flying back for it. So if we’re coming back from from from Bosnia, you can come from Stevenage or Glasgow or wherever you are. So I think the the employer passes are 200 quid.

Speaker 2 9:31
Yeah, yeah. 195 plus the 80. But that includes access to all the entire summit, talking the keynotes, the roundtables, a workshop, the exhibition, plus refreshments lunch and drink. So it’s a bit of a bargain actually. We’ll leave a link where you can book your winners and endorse

Al Elliott 9:46
you’re gonna meet us as well. So that’s that’s like 190 quids worth of tickets. Yeah.

Speaker 2 9:51
Yeah. Yeah. Your meet and greets are live streamed you could per person.

Al Elliott 9:54
Oh, easy, easy. Extra if you want us to wear headwear. Anyway, where are you? people cringe. I don’t know. I just thought the hardware just be quite cool to wear a hat. Anyway. So if people are interested whether the greater the go,

Speaker 2 10:07
I’ll leave a link. I can’t remember Google Google MadWorld summit or come up I will leave a link in the show notes and yeah, hopefully we will see that.

Al Elliott 10:14
Okay, so let’s go meet our guests late who forgot first.

Speaker 2 10:19
We have very excited we have Professor Sir Carrie Cooper. He is recognized as a world leading expert on well being and the media’s first choice for comment on any work place issue, having written more than 250 books on workplace wellbeing. He is as our said the 50th anniversary professor of Organizational Psychology at Health at the Alliance Manchester Business School. He is also co founder of Robertson Cooper, a pioneering wellbeing consultancy. Fun fact, I applied for a job that got rejected, and the culture of national forum for health and well being at work, who have recently published the 2023 financial wellbeing Guide, which we will be focusing on today. Let’s go meet Carrie. As you

Speaker 1 11:03
can tell from my accent, I come from Hollywood. I’m a professor of organizational psychology and health at the Manchester Business School, the Alliance Manchester business school as it’s called, and I guess I’m fairly well known for stress and well being in the workplace. I’ve been doing research on that topic for decades. And well being is extremely topical at the moment for most organizations.

Al Elliott 11:30
So our next guest is Khushboo Patel Khushboo is head of engagement inclusion at Metro Bank, a challenger bank in the UK. I don’t know whether they’re in the US just yet, but I think I’m sure they’ve got plans to she’s been has the core of the strategy and culture, colleague engagement, diversity, inclusion, wellbeing, she’s a very busy lady. She built a successful career in the financial services with names such as HM Treasury, had some dealings with them recently, Royal Bank of Scotland NatWest, and she’s basically created this amazing award winning culture at Metro Bank, which has now been named as one of UK most loved workplaces in 2022. Let’s go meet Khushboo and hear more about Metrobank.

Speaker 4 12:09
You’ve rightly mentioned fairly new bank. And so we started in 2010 in central London, and since then, we’ve grown arms and legs so you know, one store, and I’ll come on to why stores not branches in a second but one store and we’ve grown to just under four and a half 1000 colleagues now and over 70 stores across the UK, England and Wales and I must say the Wales part and Welsh I bought Metrobank into Wales and very proud of that part.

Speaker 2 12:38
Our final guest is Ryan Briggs. Ryan is the founder of Finn Well, an ambitious company dedicated to helping employees improve financial wellbeing and empower healthy relationships with money. Their clients include sky, Blue Dogs, and the CIPD to name just a few. And in 2023, they win the Inside Out award for best financial wellness initiative for their work with Hayes. Let’s meet Brian,

Speaker 5 13:04
who am I I’m Ryan, what do I do? I’m passionate about helping people understand, measure and improve their financial well being. So we do that with lots of companies. What am I famous for? I wouldn’t say I’m famous for it. But I was given a very big opportunity back in the day to become a professional football player. But also, that was taken away from me as well by the same person. And that was that was the king of the jungle. If anybody remembers. I’m a celebrity. That was Harry Redknapp. So yeah, I watched that show with mixed emotions, shall we say? Yeah, my wife was not voting for him.

Al Elliott 13:48
So there’s a lot to cover here. So what we’re going to do, we’ve kind of broken it down into what it is, what is financial well being why we should care. And then Leanna identified five red flags. So if you if you if these sound familiar, then there’s some trouble potentially brewing in your organization. Shall we start Leanne with what is financial well being and why should we care? So rather than try and answer this question ourselves? Why not ask Professor Sir Carrie Cooper.

Speaker 1 14:15
Okay. Basically, when you’re looking at the field of wellbeing more generally, there are lots of sources of stress on people in the workplace. They could be your relationship with your boss, it could be about your career. It’s about long working hours about being overloaded, but it’s also partly about your financial circumstances, and how that affects your health and well being productivity and the like. So financial well being it’s just another source of stress for an individual in the workplace. It’s become more significant. It started becoming significant in 2008 to 2015 during the financial Rice if lots of people lost their jobs, job insecurity was rife. People were out of jobs for quite a long time lost their jobs in the finance sector, something like 35 to 40% of people lost their jobs. In that six, seven year financial crisis were in the major, I call that the depression rather than the recession, I’d call it depression to now we’re in a recession, many countries, Germany, Britain is bouncing along the bottom, it really is in recession. In effect, financial well being is all about the problems that your finances are having on you and how it’s affecting you at work in your family, and elsewhere.

Speaker 2 15:44
So Carrie mentioned the global financial crisis there, which we do, we do talk about quite a bit, and our younger listeners might be might be wondering what the big deal is, but Carrie does say there 35 to 4% of people lost their jobs during the global financial crisis. So it was huge. And yes, while redundancy is a leading cause of a personal financial crisis, there are also many other life events that could put our financial well being at risk. And these These could be things that your employees are well experiencing things like divorce, new baby carer responsibilities, moving house health problems, or bereavement addiction. And of course, more recently, we’ve also all been experiencing the impacts of the cost of living crisis. So the 2022 CIPD, good work index found that employees are really feeling the impacts of the growing financial crisis. 29% said they are occasionally struggling to keep up with bills and financial commitments, and 90% of those earning 20,000 pounds per year are finding it a constant struggle.

Al Elliott 16:47
Yeah, and I think that most of us at some point in our life have had some kind of financial hardship. I know that I’m very famously went bankrupt for about 103,000 pounds about God 15 years ago, maybe where we’re getting up for 20 years ago now. And that was just a horrible, horrible time. So it’s likely that we can empathize a little bit with employees who are experiencing the sort of difficulty around finances. But beyond that, as leaders, should we actually care? Is it even our responsibility will carry Cooper explains that the well being of our employees has this direct impact on our business, and therefore we need to be thinking about their financial well being too Well, number one, the

Speaker 1 17:29
organization has illegal in almost all developed countries, certainly in the EU, and beyond, they have a legal responsibility for the health and well being of their employees. That’s legal. Okay, so that’s one thing, why they should be concerned about it is why why are they concerned about people’s mental health because it adversely affects their productivity and performance. Also, they’re all filled with it. If people are off ill with stress, it’s something like two or three times longer than if you have cancer. If you have severe depression, severe anxiety, you’re off a hell of a long time, much more than any other illness. So if people get very low and depressed by their financial circumstances, and, and by the way, financial circumstances, quite a broad construct, that is your own financial situation, but it could be your feeling of job insecurity. If you’re in an organization where people have been made redundant, and you’re a survivor of that redundancy, that that’s a part of financial insecurity, I’m worried I’m going to lose my job, I have commitments I have a mortgage, this, that and the other. So why they should be interested in why they should be concerned about is like they are about the mental health of people. If you want to be really crude about it, you know, if they’re if their mindset is that we want this person performing, we don’t want them off ill for a long period of time, therefore let’s deal with their psychological state, their financial circumstance, any way we can help and support them is part of our duty of care. So that’s where they should be concerned about it. But to be honest with you, more and more organizations now are concerned about people’s mental well being financial insecurity. Financial difficulties are a driver.

Speaker 2 19:30
So yeah, as Carrie said that, you know, there is an impact in our business, but fundamentally, we’re also breaking the law if we’re not taking some kind of care for our employee well being. So yeah, a word of caution there. So Ryan, as we’ve said, is a founder and financial education and well being lead at fin while he agrees that more and more businesses are starting to take responsibility for employee wellbeing, including financial well being and cites another important commercial argument businesses They care about well being attract and retain talent.

Speaker 5 20:03
Because Because companies didn’t think it was their responsibility. I think we’ve any anything that happens in their employees life now is maybe not their responsibility, but is of interest to a company because, you know, the mixture now of hybrid working and mental health and everything else. You know, there is no work life home life so much anymore. And it’s all about performance and being the best that we can be in all areas of well being. So it makes sense, it’s the right thing to do for one from from a company’s point of view. But it makes business sense as well, you know, if companies want to be seen as leading companies and want to get the most out of their people and have good cultures, and, you know, recruit the best talent and retain the best talent, they need to look at all aspects of this. And if we talk about sport, quite a lot of marginal gains, if, you know, having something like financial well being in place could really help their people. And it could be the difference between recruiting the best people and keeping the best people. So it’s, it’s something that companies I don’t think can ignore anymore. But it does open up a lot of, you know, discussion and challenges for companies as well as to who to use what to use what works, what doesn’t, you know, which isn’t easy. I know.

Speaker 2 21:24
There is an increasing amount of research being done into financial well being and its relationship with financial stress and workplace performance. These are things that you would have heard us talk about before in terms of general well being or psychological well being. Financial stress is linked to absenteeism, people being off work sick, is linked to presenteeism, when people show up at work, but they’re not performing at their best. It has an impact on organizational commitment. People who lack organizational commitment tend to leave their jobs. So yeah, more people are off work, more people are underperforming, more people are leaving your business issues that cost the UK billions and billions of pounds each year. But let’s put that in numbers that actually mean something tours are a bit more tangible. The latest CIPD reward management survey found that 28 of respondents reported that money worries negatively affect their work performance. So a third of people are aware that their financial challenges are affecting their performance at work. 10% found the impact impacted their ability to make decisions at work, and 10%. So that actually taken time off work to deal with money problems. So the people impacted by this tended to earn either less than 20,000 pounds per year, or perhaps surprisingly, 60,000 pounds a year or more. financial wellbeing is not just about supporting those on lower incomes. So

Al Elliott 22:52
I think that even at this early stage, we can say that there is clearly a case for for prioritizing financial well being and within an order and the impact it would have on the organization, detrimentally, if someone was struggling a little bit. So is the answer that we need to pay everyone more. Of course, as business leaders, we don’t really want to hear that. Because currently, things are a bit tight as they are in most industries. Now, with the larger businesses that seems to have been the sort of knee jerk reaction is to pay people more, almost half of all private organizations have increased pay over the last 12 months and 16% are offering bonuses or allowances to cover this cost of living crisis. But what if you don’t have this budget as a business owner? What if you can’t afford to pay for these wage increases? Well, we ask Carrie,

Speaker 1 23:42
but I if people are not likely to be asking you necessarily for more money, they need help, they may be in a real turmoil and then get support. There are so many organizations out there that are providing the support to businesses. You know, like you seek support for counseling from EAP S, or you seek support for mental health first aid from organizations out there that help train your Mental Health First Aiders, the same thing would apply to this. I don’t think it’s, it’s it’s not complicated. Yeah, that might be the case that they feel they need a wage increase as one vehicle but most of the time, it’s people have just got overwhelmed with their finances, they may be really good at their job. But when it comes to their own personal finance, they got themselves in trouble. They just need some support to get through it. And the payoffs will be great, because number one, the more you provide this, there’s like there’s lots of companies like Close Brothers is one of them that comes in and does training helps people with their own personal financial positions. There’s a whole number of these kinds of company. They’re very good and what They do, they help them sort out their problem, this problem will translate, the lack of this problem will translate into higher perform better performance, higher productivity. In the end, it’ll pay for itself, just like the APS pay for themselves. I did a major study on all the EAP is in the UK years and years ago, and we looked at it and saw the cost benefit looked at the cost benefit analysis of buying in an EAP. Then if you help people with their personal problems, how that was going to reflect itself in increased performance, less sickness, absence states and the like. It’s a no brainer,

Al Elliott 25:40
financial well being isn’t necessarily just throwing money at the problem and paying people more. It’s about supporting people through a financial crisis, as Leanne’s pointed out, people over the age between 20,060 1000 tend to have fewer financial problems, that means over 60,000, you could potentially have more financial problems. So what’s even better is that if you if you work hard and put things in place, you can have mechanisms already in place that will prevent employees from falling into these kinds of problems.

Speaker 2 26:08
Yeah, it sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? But I guess it’s that old proverb, proverb of, you know, you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day, if you teach a man to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime. It’s you know, as leaders, we’re not expected to be the Bank of mum and dad, we’re not expected to bail out employees that are in a financial crisis, but we can provide them the support that they need in that moment, and empower them to improve their financial well being long term. And I

Al Elliott 26:32
think that the global financial crisis of 2007, and eight proved that bailing people out doesn’t affect their behavior. I mean, the bankers and all these back to their old tricks by all accounts. So I was really curious, I wanted to know, how would I know that I have members of my team who are struggling, that have got some kind of financial difficulties? Are there any kind of red flags we should be looking out for?

Speaker 2 26:56
As I mentioned, the financial wellbeing guide, 2023, was recently published, and is a phenomenal free resource, it will discuss exactly this, I was very sweet, so that I came up with the five red flags, I didn’t this report did, what we have done is we’re breaking it down even more for you, with the help of our guests. So we can explore these warning signs and some potential solutions for you as well, all with the aim of improving the financial well being of our employees.

Al Elliott 27:24
So the first red flag is that you don’t have the data, if you listen to any single one of these episodes of the last 54 or 55 episodes, you will hear the M tell you that it’s all about data. So this is the insights that you need to be collecting. If you use something like our RX seven, which is our proprietary way for measuring workplace culture, then you will know that we provide an awful lot of data for you to use. But a lot of the new tools don’t necessarily cover financial wellbeing. As Carrie said, a lack of evidence is not necessarily a lack of problem. It all starts with the data. Ryan totally agrees.

Speaker 5 28:03
It all starts with data, if possible, as well. And working out what the need is definitely, you know, discussion and looking at what data might be available, may be gathering more data, we’ve just introduced a new service that can help do that and kind of measure the financial well being of an entire workforce and, you know, establish their areas of focus and then start to drill down or what kind of support might be needed is it is access to content, you know, do people just want to learn more and understand more and build their confidence in their own time? And at their own pace? Possibly? Do they want to engage with interactive group workshops? Be it face to face or online? Possibly? Do they need one to one support? You know, do they need that additional human interaction to speak to someone that’s going to be kind and empathetic and knowledgeable to help them understand where they’re at and what they need to do to move things forward? Possibly that as well. So there’s lots of different things that are available to them, whether that’s through our company or others. But it all starts with that data piece and knowing what is needed lots of times we’ve worked with companies and they’ve said to us, oh, we we really want to do a session on pensions. And we say great, yeah, we can definitely do that maybe as part of a package or whatever. It might be part of an ongoing program. But we’ll always ask, why can we just ask why do you want to do that? And they just kind of say, well, because you know, a few people have said they’re really interested and that’s absolutely fine. But that could be some money and time wasted if they don’t know how many people actually want that. So with that particular company, we did a bit of research. We’ve done some polls on some other sessions. And it turns out that pensions will be very important wasn’t the big biggest thing for their people. You know, they wanted to focus on money management and budgeting and the property ladder and protecting their families, whatever it might be. So definitely asking what people want and need in in an engaging way is important.

Speaker 2 30:03
Employee insights really is all about asking people what they need. It’s as simple as that. And that’s what employee insights are. And yet only 10% of employees in the UK have said that their employer has ever asked them about their financial well being or the support that they might need. There is a gap here, we need to be gathering the data. Ryan also raised a really good point here in terms of taking a narrower approach to, to measurement or a narrower approach to benefits. Yes, pension support is hugely important. But if you have a digital agency, where the majority of your people are under 30, thinking about their pension, while they’ll be pleased when it’s in place, it’s probably not going to be as important to them as other things like savings schemes or pay advances or hardship loans. As Ryan explained, even by just considering the demographics of your workforce, that can be an excellent starting point. In terms of data.

Speaker 5 31:01
I think there’s the mindset. If you look at different age demographics, I read a massively interesting book that I would highly recommend to all your listeners called the psychology of money, just to get an understanding of people’s relationship with money, we talk a lot about that with our work. Because it’s not just about facts and educational stuff. There’s also a whole other side to this, which is about psychology, money, and emotional finance and behavioral finance. And dependent on your age will kind of mean that you’ve, you’ve experienced life in a certain way, you know, if we’re looking at it, now, we’re, you know, we’ve, in the last few years come out of a very low interest rate environment that people have had for years, you know, other people that might be a bit older, remember, when interest rates was actually really high, and people giving keys back to their properties. So it really depends on your experience of how old you are and what you’ve lived through, that will dictate maybe your attitudes towards money. And that then dictates, you know, the choices that you make, as well. So we it’s really fascinating, fascinating part of, of our work to try and work with different age demographics, you also have to change language and tone. And you know, the ways that maybe you talk about money and trying to make it engaging and fun, especially for the younger generations. But even their appetite to save and invest for their future and take control actually is quite encouraging. We found for younger generation. So yeah, there’s definitely not, you know, again, you know, one way of looking at this,

Al Elliott 32:40
so the solution to not having enough data is to get some. And I think that if you do have some way of monitoring or serving or speaking to your, to your employees at the moment, then ensure it does cover financial, the financial wellness side of it. If it doesn’t, there’s no need necessarily to go out there and buy a tool that does, because the CIPD offers this set of validated reliable measures, and right really what Leandro here of financial well being but they can be actually used in your employee surveys. So Carrie shared this great example of how not asking your employees what they want, could end up costing you your business?

Speaker 1 33:21
No, it could, it could be part of the way to the solution. But it’s it depends on whether you as the owner of that business, or the CEO made the decision to do that without talking to your employees. I’ll never forget one sec, who is a non executive director of a small company made up of about 40 employees, they were really nice guys, they went to Cambridge together three of them, they founded this business. And they wanted they they were guys who had this philosophy was small company who was quite successful. And they wanted to give their employees part of the business, they wanted to give them shares. So they brought me in only for that purpose. So an advisor, but I was sitting as a non exec director on on the board to do this because they thought this was a big deal. 4050 employees. So I said that’s there was what do you think of this? I think, in principle, it’s a great idea. You know, you’re giving them a part of the business. But don’t you think it’d be a good idea? I said, to go talk to the employees that I should go talk to them. You don’t have to do this. That’s my job. I’ll do that. You’re bringing me in to do this. Alright. And I’ll go talk to the employees and find out is it as something they want? Because in the end, if you think about, you want to change an organization, you want to make a difference you ask the employees, they are the guys and gals at the coalface. They’re the ones who live this job day in and day out Monday to Friday, all hours, etc. So I went to the shop floor And I started talking to all of them. One at a time had lunch, coffee, I go back to the board meeting, I said they don’t want that. So they said what I said, But everybody’s talking about share ownership with your employees. I said, quite a lot of them would want it. This particular group don’t particularly want it, I tend to believe, by the way and share ownership. For employee employee share ownership, I think it’s a great construct, because they feel part of the business. John Lewis partnership was a perfect example of it. They were very successful during the pandemic, they were probably the only company that was making money during the pandemic, zoom, and zoom, for sure. Zoom. Okay. So they said, Well, what do they want, I said, You won’t believe what they want. See, I didn’t know until I started talking about what they wanted was health care coverage, private health care coverage in case they got ill or their families got ill. That’s what they want.

Speaker 2 35:56
So the second red flag is that nobody’s talking about it. Nobody’s talking about financial wellbeing, nobody is talking about any financial challenges they’re experiencing, that the very common, two thirds of employees in the UK have said that they would never talk to their employer about a financial crisis they’re experiencing. So it is very common, there is a good chance that two thirds of your workforce may well be experiencing poor financial well being currently, and you have no idea. Let’s hear more on that from Carrie.

Speaker 1 36:27
Since I focus in on the workplace, then my concern is about how do we get people to be open about their financial circumstances with their employer, because the employer wants to help many employers want to help. But if employees, a recent survey found a huge percentage of people, two out of three will not reveal to their employer that they’re having any financial difficulty, and it affects them at work. It affects them in their relationships, it affects them at home, and, and their, their performance as well. So how do we get these people to actually talk about it, feel open to talk about it? How do we get the organization to train line managers to be able to broach this subject with their subordinates and their direct reports. And, again, about a third of people it is found, feel that their employer, you know, well, a lot of them feel they’re employed. Number one, they don’t want to talk about it with their boss. Number two, they don’t think their boss would necessarily be open to talking about it. And many organizations are not really dealing with as an issue, they feel it would be intrusive, or it’s not in their daily work. It’s not, we shouldn’t be doing things on. Although EAP is employee assistance programs are available in bigger organizations, both in the public sector and the private sector. And an aspect of them is not just psychological counseling, but an aspect is about financial counseling as well. So we just need more openness about it. Because we’re in a recession, things aren’t gonna get good for a long time, particularly because we have Brexit, Brexit will keep having a negative impact on Britain. But the financial crisis, why wouldn’t the fight not the financial crisis, but the recession, the cost of living crisis, energy, all that kind of stuff, is going to affect the whole of Europe for quite a long time. Particularly as long as the Ukrainian war goes on.

Speaker 2 38:47
Ryan agrees that smashing the stigma is the first step, we need to get people talking about money.

Speaker 5 38:54
And that’s probably one of our biggest missions really from from fin whale that we want the first step for people to feel like they’re comfortable talking about money that’s the big thing I think we need at the moment very similar to mental health and well being that’s pretty much the first step to make you know smash the stigma and break the taboos create psychologically safe spaces at companies and and for employees, where both employee teams and leadership teams can come together and talk about money, you know, because we we feature a lot about or talk a lot about the fact that we’re not actually all in the same boat. I don’t if you remember, everyone used to sell COVID and the Panda, we’re all in the same boat, and we’d absolutely disagree with that. We’re all maybe in the same storm is how we explain it. But it’s absolutely affecting people in different ways. Some of us are, you know, gonna just sail through it, and that’s fine, you know, not gonna affect us too much and that’s okay. But for others, we need to work a bit harder. We might need to be out on a rowing boat and working a bit harder and looking at our money a bit more, and others A drowning, you know, I was really struggling. And I think the nice thing that’s come out of the way our group workshops have developed is that culture piece and that bringing a company together to realize that we’re all in the same storm, and we need to get through it together and support each other really,

Al Elliott 40:17
I love that idea of saying not necessarily we’re in the same boat, we’re in the same storm. I think that’s so, so important. And it shows empathy without necessarily sort of just lying because if you are on 250 grand a year and someone’s on 25 grand a year and struggling, it’s gonna be difficult to show genuine empathy, well, not empathy, or genuine sympathy there because you’re not in the same situation. But this is where empathy really really comes to the fore. rewind to last week’s episode, have a listen because we took all about the leadership and empathy in that episode Khushboo, who’s the head of engagement and inclusion at Metro Bank, she stresses that good line management and wellbeing are correlated.

Speaker 4 40:57
The whole point of this is line managers are the gateway into the colleague experience. So this panel was chaired by a gentleman Andrew from mind, and mind have just released a workplace wellbeing report. And there’s lots of statistics in there that basically say, the better your line manager is, the better your well being is going to be right, it’s completely correlated. So we have to make sure that our line managers are properly equipped and equipped and confident to be able to support our colleagues. There’s a difference between saying, Oh, come to me if you need anything, or I see you’re not yourself, have put 15 minutes in the diary, let’s chat and then during that chat, to signpost to the right tools or the right areas, because then the other part of this is you can have the most loveliest line managers given you all the time in the world, but they themselves suffer because they take the burden of the whole thing on and they’re not trained, you know, they’re not psychotherapists, and counsellors bless them, they have to be able to signpost with confidence to the right areas or the right tools. And we as an organization, we have to be able to provide that. So providing line managers with skills, capability and confidence, but then also providing this line managers and colleagues with the tools and environment to be able to support well being

Speaker 2 42:11
because we were talking about Andrew berry there from mind who was a previous guest on the show well worth checking out his episode as well, on mental health, I will leave a link in the show notes. The impact of line managers really can’t be underestimated. We’ve mentioned it before, we’ve talked about it before. If there is one thing you do, as a business owner, train your line managers, train them empathy, train them, emotional intelligence, and personal skills, even listening. If you haven’t done that, if you haven’t trained your line manager managers in these skills, that is a red flag. Let’s hear more from Carrie.

Speaker 1 42:49
Here’s where our problem is in the whole field of well being. But let’s look at financial well being is only one aspect of it. The problem we have is to do with line managers. What we tend to do in developed countries is we recruit and promote people to managerial roles based on their technical skills, not their people skills. This is a very fundamental problem we have which we haven’t directly tackled. You know, we look at we look at somebody who’s a good marketeer. And we say that guy’s great. He’s his sales are fantastic. Let’s make him a marketing amateur. That teacher in a classroom is outstanding. So let’s make her a head teacher, you know, with minimal amount of training, or even thinking about whether they’re competent enough to do it. So these are, by the way, people who don’t have much EQ, not much emotional intelligence. They’re technically really good. Great marketeer, great teacher, great social worker, put them in a managerial role and they fail. And it’s because they might not have the people skills to put people together. Now what do people skills mean? Social interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, being able to empathize with your colleagues, understand seeing their change of behavior, being socially sensitive, so you notice somebody’s not the same. So you know, I’ve noticed that, you know, OWL usually is very, uh, bullion, he’s in a meeting, he’s, you know, he’s participating like everybody else. And the last few weeks, he’s just quiet, totally withdrawn. And when he does come in, he’s very angry, very aggressive. Now, a good line manager recognizes a change of behavior. And that’s a line manager all the way from shop floor to top floor. This goes all the way up the system, anybody who’s in a managerial role. So that person is more likely to be to recognize symptoms in their subordinates and saying, putting armor on shoulder owl I’ve noticed for the last few weeks, maybe a month, maybe two months, you’ve been kind of withdrawn or something, something’s struggling, isn’t it? I just feel it, is it what’s wrong. And because he’s an open person, he or she is an open person, owl is more likely to respond and open up themselves. Because open people open, people who have the social skills are people who are prepared to admit their own vulnerabilities, which enables people that are working with to open up.

Leanne Elliott 45:35
So the solution to Red flag number two, I think it’s pretty obvious to help train your managers. Again, if there’s one thing you do, as a business, train your managers, if you’re not sure where to look for this type of line management training, get in touch with us, we have a phenomenal provider that we can put you in touch with, just please train your managers. As you know, Khushboo is head of engagement and inclusion at Metro Bank, the challenger bank is only 13 years old. And already it has grown to 3000 employees, investing in managers was a fundamental part of this growth story. As Khushboo explains,

Speaker 4 46:18
so I guess the philosophy is, like I said, all about service all about being different. And we’ve evolved, you know, we’ve, we’ve grown up from this small bank to a bigger bank, and we’ve got a different set of leaders in place, which are leading the way forward and our ambition to be the UK’s best community bank. And I guess, a key part of what what you’ve just said, is around what the leaders do and what the leaders say, and what the tone from the top is. And I guess that Metrobank, maybe it’s because it’s a smaller organization, we’ve got just under four and a half 1000 colleagues, but actually, our leaders are so open. They speak to our colleagues, they talk to our colleagues, they take ideas, but actually when we’re running with something, it’s a joint effort, it’s not being told, this is what we’re doing go and do it, it’s let’s talk about it. This sounds like a good idea. Great, let’s do it together. So you’re already bought into something when you’re doing it.

Leanne Elliott 47:14
There is an ongoing debate as to whether leaders are born or made, I still see many posts about it on LinkedIn. And the truth is that believing that leaders are born is a pretty outdated way of thinking. And the majority of the research shows us now that management skills, these soft skills can be trained your managers in your business can be trained. So rather than asking yourself, if people are natural leaders, ask if they’re trainable, ask if they are coachable.

Speaker 1 47:45
You’re right. If we have less EQ line managers, they’re going to be reluctant to do this. Because they don’t know how to handle people, because they’re not good at handling people full stop. But we can train those 40% that are trainable. into this and saying look at being open means you’re prepared, recognize the changes of behavior of your employees, if you see major changes in your behavior, provide opportunities for you to discuss it with them what what might be the drivers in this, what might be causing this problem and see if you get the social supports, they need to deal with it. It could be a marital problem, could be a financial problem, who knows what it is, but you know, why not? They come into the workplace. And they’re not automatons. What’s going on outside affects them inside. So you could just ignore it, and say, It’s not my problem. They have financial problems, they have mental health problems, they have relationship problems, not my problem. It is your problem, because they come in with those problems. And that’s why the evidence on AAPs said it works. It pays off to the bottom line.

Al Elliott 49:00
Carry on went on to explain that the secret of culture is allowing open conversations with managers who care. I couldn’t really believe that was that simple, though.

Speaker 1 49:11
It is that simple. I mean, it sounds silly. And be you think, oh, no, it can’t be that. It is that’s what who is your culture as an employee, your culture is your boss and your work colleagues that you see every week. Right? That’s your it’s not the Chief Exec. The chief exec has his or her own team. That’s their culture. That, you know, they talk about. It’s like the National Health Service in the UK. Everybody talks about it. Like we got to do this with the NHS as if it’s an oil tanker heading toward a port. Right. And now we’re going to do that and it’s going to shift the whole they don’t think about it as a flotilla of tons of little ships, ie hospitals. And you say, if you’re smart, you would say if you were the head of the NHS, you see that port over there, how you get to that port? I don’t care. Because you have different demographics than the than another boat and the flotilla. So you decide how you’re going to get there, you determine your navigation toward that port, given the context of your demographics, the problems you face and everything else. And that’s what it’s all about. So for me, in an organization, the culture that affects you the most are your workgroup, your team, those are the ones who affect you, and the line manager. And so the more we can get that good communication within everybody there who feels safe and comfortable. And talking about issues and problems, the better. And so it’s not, I don’t think it’s that complicated. It’s only complicated, because we don’t have enough of those people who are in managerial roles who have that competency.

Speaker 2 51:11
And if you’re if you’re having this thought, can I just stop you there, please, listener, if you are thinking, Man, this sounds really woke. It sounds really like it’s, you know, we’re gonna have so much fun every day at work, aren’t we with all these serious conversations and awkward around conversation about money about well being relationship problems? Take a breath, I’ll do it with you. Clear your mind, open your mind. And let’s hear from Khushboo.

Speaker 4 51:36
Like, it is serious. And I think the every job is serious, you know, you guys are in the world of education and educating people is serious. I think everything has a serious element. And and it’s so important for every single person to be doing something no matter how serious it is, to take that lightened approach, I mean, we’re talking about wellbeing, everywhere we look today. someone’s mental health, someone’s physical well being social wellbeing, all of that is so important, playing a part of where you spend the majority of your life right at work. And if you can’t have a bit of fun, and by fun, you can’t it’s not mutually exclusive, you don’t have fun, and then not be serious, you can absolutely be serious and have fun. I’m having fun now. But we’re talking about, you know, serious things. And yes, money is serious. But do we want to make it serious? So then it becomes inaccessible? Do we want to make it serious that it scares children that they can’t talk in a bank? Do we want to make it so serious that there are certain groups of people, you know, maybe vulnerable adults, or, you know, disabled people who find it actually, this is too serious for me, and I can’t use it. I think we create barriers through our own version of seriousness or our own illusion of seriousness that we create. And so it’s not mutually exclusive. We can be fun and be serious at the same time.

Speaker 2 52:58
We can have fun, especially if we know the signs that things are more serious. As an individual, your financial well being may becoming a more serious issue. If you’re noticing things like you’re being refused for credit, you’re needing payday loans, you’re constantly in your overdraft, you’re finding your home expenses, typically every month add up to more than you earn. These are signs that as an individual, you may be heading for a financial crisis. As a leader or manager, the signs that an employee may be struggling financially can include so many different things, things like changes in behavior or mood, you know, if somebody’s typically very happy, and then all of a sudden they’re really grumpy. That is that as a red flag, or if they’re going off sick. If you’re noticing lower productivity or lower quality of work, if maybe they’re working more overtime, or they’re delaying their retirement plans. being emotionally intelligent isn’t about rejecting fun. It’s about knowing when it’s appropriate, and ultimately, great leaders know how to communicate with different people in different ways. Ryan started his career. Very interestingly, in professional football, under one of England’s best known managers, Harry Redknapp, we had to ask him about his experience. Does he right, Harry as a manager,

Speaker 5 54:19
I was only a professional for a couple of years and didn’t play for the first team traveled with the first team but didn’t have loads of exposure to Harry but I think he was just the way he communicated the way he made you feel, you know, I listened to other players. I played with lots of Joe Cole and Michael Kerrigan. What they’ve said about Harry and and what others have said about Harry Redknapp and they all say the same thing, you know, the way that he would be able to communicate with different people in different ways realizing that some people needed an arm around the shoulder, some people needed some harsh words possibly said that that would be a positive really to Jay them up and make some impact. But I think what most good leaders have, whether it’s in sport or business that they make their employees or their teams feel like, they want to give 100 and 110% for that person, you know, if they don’t, we hear a lot that I don’t want to let them down, I don’t want to let my manager down or, and if you’ve got that, you know, if you’ve got that genuine respect for your manager, again, whether it’s sport or business, I think that’s a great starting point.

Al Elliott 55:31
Okay, so Red flag number three is that you are trim treating the symptoms, not the underlying problem. Most organizations have some kind of support in place related to financial well being, whether it’s like your pension scheme, or an EAP. Or perhaps you help people who are struggling with finances, and you have a dedicated person to do that. So some of these might be really popular. For example, if someone if employees are accessing like, the equivalent of an early pay advance, quite often, you might think, Oh, well, there you go. That’s helping. But that might just be solving the problem not necessarily looking at a solution for the underlying issue. need to ask yourself, What are your benefits actually focusing on? Is it cure? Or is it prevention, if you are seeing one particular type of your financial support being like a high take upon it, then perhaps it does suggest there’s some underlying training that you can do there. Maybe it’s like focusing on budgeting or managing debt, and what is dedicated to financial education and wellbeing, training and support employers of all kinds of sizes across all sectors across the UK, they offer more than 20 interactive group workshops online and in person, which cover the range of themes and topics which are related to financial wellbeing. Ryan, explain this approach creates a psychologically safe space, and also helps to bring employee and leadership teams together to talk about money. Let’s hear more from Ryan.

Speaker 5 57:00
One of the really nice kind of bonuses that we’ve seen from, from our group workshops that we did, and and there’s lots of companies that offer group workshops, or presentations, or webinars or seminars, whatever it might be. And we try to do things a little bit different, we try to make them as engaging as possible, we don’t like talking at people for any length of time. So we really tried to start to make our sessions really engaging and really, you know, giving people the chance to get involved with the session as much as they want. And what we found from that is that it became more of a culture piece rather. So it’s an education piece. Obviously, we’re trying to help educate and improve confidence and knowledge, but also using it as a way to talk about money.

Speaker 2 57:49
Metrobank is also an advocate for financial education from childhood to adulthood, I asked khushbu about this important aspect of Metro banks work, and not only how it impacts its customers, but how it impacted its employees.

Speaker 4 58:01
You know, our ambition is to be the UK is number one community bank. And it’s really connecting with the people that we serve. And so, you know, our I talked about the fact that we’ve got stores not branches, so the memories of or what comes to mind as a stereotype of a brand is you go in, if you’ve got kids, tell them to shut up, you better be dressed nicely. And it’s all this Mary Poppins stuff about, you know, don’t crack

Speaker 2 58:28
a joke. It’s too serious in here.

Speaker 4 58:32
Metrobank is not like that at all. So all of our stores are based on a retail environment, and you walk in, and you’ve got these bright colors. If it’s half term, there’s a kids club going on with dog friendly, big, big drawing for me because I love dogs. So, you know, you’ll see a dog with doggy treats, and we’ve got them on the counter. You know, doggy bandanas, like I said kids clubs and activities. We do free financial education for children. And part of that module, we have school trips come in. So it’s a really lively atmosphere that fits into our community. Yes, we do all the serious stuff. You know, we do banking, we do mortgages, we do business banking, and we support our communities in the traditional banking way as well. But there’s a whole host of other things that we do. And you know, really, really proud of all of that stuff.

Speaker 2 59:18
Could be went on to explain that Metro bank’s commitment to community also feeds into their talent strategies, and education programs.

Speaker 4 59:26
So it’s been quite a journey. And we’ve just come through the back end of what we’ve called our transformation period, and sort of really regrouping quite a few things in business strategies. And I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, you know, connection to the community is really, really vital to us. And as we grow, it’s looking at all these other nuances that come back to the heart of our strategy. So at the heart of our strategy are people and our colleagues so our colleagues are at the center of everything we do, hence why wellbeing is so important, hence why we’re driving it forward. And the journey on Word is keeping that connection to the community. So, again, through traditional banking mediums, but through things like our apprenticeship program, where we’re focusing on socio economic diversity and making sure that we look at some of the most deprived areas in the UK, and making sure that opportunities are offered to candidates in those areas, making sure that we expand financial education to not just children. We’ve looked at care leavers, we’re looking at families, we’re looking to armed forces, how can we spread our expertise and reach as many people as we can in our community, and really making a difference to our community, whilst also doing the day to day banking, in going back to what I was saying about supporting our communities, and children from a young age? Well, let’s get them passionate about money, let’s get them passionate about education. You know, we’re in a world right now, where unfortunately, many might not be a great thing to talk about, you know, at home life, and children feed off these things. So let’s give them some positive on how many can be positive and how you can help yourself and how you can help yourself with money. And we’re doing that with various other things, I think, you know, fine finance in general, and particularly with women. The stats are absolutely staggering of how women in finance, there’s just not enough of them. And Metrobank, were massively massively ahead of the curve. So we’re almost at 5050, male and female, which is brilliant, as an organization. And we’re just trying to look up that level of representation and make sure that’s reflected at senior levels as well. But on the opposite end, we’re actually building a program right now with our technology team, and looking at STEM for children. So going into classes with children talking about technology, talking about finances, you know, not just leaving it as many partnering with other firms who might have ideas around the technological side, and we’ve got a large technology team, let’s go out and share the expertise. So you know, building that passion in others just sees that passion filter on through through life. And I think it’s really important for children to learn that passion is important, it shouldn’t die out when you’re grown up.

Al Elliott 1:01:59
So the guide the Leon mentioned to both before the 2023 guide that Kerry and his team put together stresses the importance of education, need to ensure that we’re offering employees sustainable solutions, they suggest that doing things like setting up financial well being literacy programs, alongside the practice guidelines and tools in the EAP can help employees to develop the skills to manage their finances. So in short, we need to both address the short term problems, but also the underlying problems.

Speaker 2 1:02:32
Yeah, I think it really is a combination of, of providing solutions that support the immediate pain, whilst also empowering people to experience more positive financial well being in the long run. So our fourth red flag is your employees aren’t accessing support. We hear a lot of this from organizations, leaders saying things like I have all these benefits and blades, but nobody seems to be using them. It is really, really common. And actually research from CIPD in 2022, found actually only about 40% of organizations had communicated their full benefits package to their workers. That might sound a bit if you’re an employee, you might think that sounds kind of stupid, but actually think about EAP programs, a lot of them will offer 10s and 10s and 10s of benefits, everything from health to to cashback to, you know, shopping savings schemes to online physio to gym passes, they really are comprehensive. So yeah, communicating the full package can be a challenge for organizations, we’ve spoken to several high profile guests about benefits about communicating benefits in the past, and they have all recommended the same thing when it comes to benefits. Don’t worry about doing more, worry about doing better. And by being better, they mean better and communicating the benefits you have and engaging people in them. Karen Sancto, from Microsoft in our corporate giant episode talked about this a lot and gave some awesome advice. So do go back and check that out. But of course, engagement isn’t just reserved for the fortune 500 smaller businesses do need to invest in engagement to Khushboo explains colleague engagement is an intentional thing at Metro Bank.

Speaker 4 1:04:17
So my role is brand new role at Metro Bank. So I’ve been with Metro Bank for just under five years. And so I started with the corporate and commercial side, and I bought Metro Bank into Wales. And so this role came up six months ago, and I was like me, pick me. So it covers everything to do with our amazing culture. Everything to do with colleague engagement, everything to do with DNI and everything to do with well being. All of these things have added on bit by bit. And I keep saying, you know, to our leaders who accept it and understand it, I feel like a startup business, right. So it’s a new role. And actually, we thought it was this big and by this big, I mean small but it’s bigger and bigger and bigger and the concept is bigger and bigger. And as an organization that puts our colleagues at the heart of everything we do. We know it’s bigger and bigger. And so you know, that’s how wellbeing fits into it. And they’re all interlinked. You know what I said something in my interview that without you, let me think of it a second. You can’t have engagement, you can’t have cut, you can’t have a good culture without colleague engagement. And you can’t have either without diversity and inclusion. And I think wellbeing just fits into all of that bad step. And I think, you know, if you look after your colleagues, I’ve read a really interesting article, if you look after your colleagues, everything that follows with a customer will just come.

Al Elliott 1:05:42
So communication is really important, obviously, but also is really important to be able to signpost people to be able to tell people what is available. So the key to that really is training your managers, your leaders, your well being leads in what actually is available within your company. In March 2020, Ryan started a nonprofit called Let’s improve workplace wellbeing, which was specifically to support HR and mental health practitioners with exactly this.

Speaker 5 1:06:08
So we started that in March 2020. Myself, and then new Shagun, who’s here at the exhibition, as well. And really, it was just an idea to help some of our clients, some of the HR managers, there wasn’t really so many well being leads, then it was just kind of HR managers, or pas, or whoever it might be a company that was tasked to not only help everyone, but sought wellbeing out as well, and which was a very new area for some. And they needed help, I didn’t really know where to turn what the elements might be, you know, mental health, financial well being physical, social, lots of different elements of well being where do you go to learn all this stuff, it’s a very new role. So the idea was just to try and bring the people in that role together, to help them share challenges and have a bit of a network, a peer support group, to, to help them and to learn more and improve the well being at their own organization. So that was the idea. We had lots of online events back then, lots of people gave up their time to speak and people came to them. And now it’s an official, not for profit, you know, Community Interest Company CIC that news runs and I help with. And it’s a holistic approach to well being as well, obviously, of where that fits in with him. Well, we like to think we might be able to help on the financial side and support members, you know, whether they’ve got budget or not, you know, which can be the case now that companies are going through this cost of living crisis as well, not just employees. So just to try and be, you know, supportive and knowledgeable in that area, I suppose.

Al Elliott 1:07:48
So clearly, it’s not necessarily about our offering more, it’s ensuring that people are picking up and taking up what you’re already offering. And of course, it’s all the more important if you are taking some benefits away, like for example, remote work, lots of companies are pulling people back to work, which is seen as actually taking something away and benefit away from the employee.

Speaker 2 1:08:08
Yeah, I mean, if you are interested in the cost breakdown of work from home versus work from the office, do head back to that episode that we mentioned, is work from home dad the impact of the cost of living crisis, because there is an argument that calling people back into the office could add on financial pressures in terms of commuting costs or childcare. So have you switch from a fully remote to a hybrid policy or fully back in office policy in the last 12 months? Have you had that conversation with your employees about how it’s impacting them financially? I worry that a lot of small businesses are currently basing their hybrid or remote working policy based on all the big tech companies that have we’ve seen a flurry of them over the last six months start to call people back into the office because typically, traditionally, the big tech firms have been known for best practice when it comes to culture. Well, it’s Kara explains not anymore.

Speaker 1 1:09:01
Zoom has told her employees after being a minimum of three days, can you believe it? First of all, they thrive on the fact that people are working from home. Most of these companies thrive on it yet they’re doing that. Don’t assume that the good people firms are the IT firms and not necessarily at all. So there are companies that really know how to deal with these kinds of issues. And we’re getting more of them because more and more companies are thinking about well being in a more strategic way. And so I mean, we did some work. Robertson Cooper, my ex Manchester University spin off company didn’t work with mace, the big construction builders and we were going quarterly to the senior leadership team. That’s the CEO and his team once a month, talking once a quarter talking about we had a contract to do work with them on well being developed strategically. And we said, Okay, we’ve done employee wellbeing audits, we got the employee voice. Now, we know that there’s that problem in that part of the business and that problem in that part of business, we’re going in and intervening. So we go in and intervene, we would then bring back to the data on the before and after the intervention. Sometimes it was successful, sometimes it wasn’t. When it wasn’t, we’d say, we tried that didn’t work. But we know why it didn’t work. So we’re doing that. That’s what it should be about. And you have a strategic plan, you’re getting employee voice, you’re finding out that they have finance, that people who have a number of people have financial wellbeing issues, what are we going to do about it? How are we going to deal with that, and in the whole organization. So it this is this is doable, but you have to get open communications.

Leanne Elliott 1:10:54
The point is that every change you make in your business is essentially an intervention that will impact your people and culture, whether it’s intentional or not. If you’re collecting the data, if you’re doing the work to get those insights, you’ll know the impact of that change. And the impact of that decision, you’ll know if it’s successful or not. My beef with remote work is that leaders are saying remote work isn’t working, productivity is down, we need to bring people back into the office. And they’re not actually recording that data, they don’t have the proof. Where is the data?

Al Elliott 1:11:27
Here, like we’ve said before, you wouldn’t make marketing or sales decisions without looking at the analytics or the conversion rates. So you shouldn’t really be making decisions about people without collecting data and analyzing that data carefully. So that’s Red flag number four is that people aren’t necessarily aware of what is available. I mean, if you’re not, or you feel that if you’re a leader, and you’re not sure everyone knows, or if you’re an employee, and you don’t know, perhaps it’s time to start communicating, but it’s time to start training managers and ensuring that everyone knows exactly how to signpost,

Speaker 2 1:11:56
you, that’s actually a really good litmus test. So when you develop it’s just if you’re really to go, can I list all my benefits? Oh, that’s the key con might be worth just, you know, oh, no, that look.

Al Elliott 1:12:09
So Red flag number five is ignoring links to learning and development.

Leanne Elliott 1:12:13
Yeah, so this might seem a bit a bit out of place. You’re like, what is l&d got to do with financial wellbeing? Well, when we think about it, learning and development is really enabling employees to progress in their careers. And that in turn is going to help them increase their earning potential. You know, we’ve heard a lot over the last six months, you know, the war for talent being won by these bidding wars in terms of salary, and that does seem to be slowing down. But even so employees know that that that increasing their skills, enriching, their experience does mean bigger paychecks down the line. If you don’t offer employees access to opportunities, development, training opportunities, this is a red flag. Ask yourself questions like can employees easily access development and training resources? Can the colleagues access information about job openings? Are employees encouraged to have regular development conversation with their line managers? If you answered no to any of those questions, enhancing your learning and development programs is a matter of priority. Let’s hear more from Carrie.

Speaker 1 1:13:19
It’s about partly your career. It’s about the rewards you get, by the way they are there are psychological rewards as well as financial rewards. Right? In other words, if you think about this, I might be asked to go somewhere. I might be recruited for a job. It’s a job I actually would like to do, but they don’t pay me half of what I’m currently get paid. So that’s a career issue. But it’s also a financial issue for me. I had that happened to me once where I got offered a job at a very prestigious university, or, you know, much earlier in my in my career and everything. But it wasn’t going to pay me very much. And I had four kids, or I can’t remember at that time, maybe it was only two. I can’t I just can’t remember the ages and ages ago. Okay, so I decided to stay with the money, but I could do my own thing where I was anyway. So what do I need? You know, those kinds of issues come up all the time. And that determines that affects your financial circumstance, say I would have taken the job at this place, but ended up ending up with four kids probably would have stayed with two. But say I would have four that would have been would have cost me caused me a lot of problems. Maybe my wife or my wife actually was working at the time anyway. But let’s say she wasn’t she may then have to go to work. So all those kinds of issues about your career. Your rewards And there are a lot of rewards you get from a job which are not necessarily financial, and you might want to stick with a job. But, but But it causes financial complications for you if you do. So, a lot of people can say that, I’d love to do that. But I can’t do that because it doesn’t pay me enough money. So I think all those four kind of constructs, you know, just are are interactive, interdependent, and they, they affect your financial financial well being.

Speaker 2 1:15:32
And once we have these learning and development programs in place, it’s also really important that we engage people in them, especially those from minority groups, your l&d strategy should align with your EDI strategy. Let’s hear more from Khushboo. And the work she’s doing and Metrobank.

Speaker 4 1:15:49
Like we’ve we’re a great starting point. So we’re 5050 we’re almost 5050 as well with ethnicity diversity as well across our organization. So again, that’s another big plus. What we did last year was introduce our first ever diversity and inclusion strategy. So formalizing a little bit of what we’re already doing. And now we’re taking that a step further into right, gender and ethnicity isn’t all if DNI, right? It goes far further than that. So we’re looking at what other characteristics do we look at? And it becomes really interesting, because quite often, you’ll be able to see sex, quite often, you’ll be able to see ethnicity, not all the time, but quite often, but then you come into the invisible characteristics. You know, you’d look at sexual orientation, or perhaps religion, and how do we how do we learn about this representation? And how do we make it more visible. And so the first step for me is across our organization encouraging that visibility. And so having our senior leaders having our executive teams talk about these things that aren’t obvious, you know, I’m Khushboo, I’ve got an invisible disability, I’m on the senior leadership team, I’m telling you this because x, y, and Zed, and helping our colleagues understand that inclusion is not just because we say it’s inclusion, inclusion is all around you. But let’s talk about it. And let’s start the conversation. We’ve got, we’ve got employee resource groups, you’ve got five of them. So we’ve got one that looks at females, we’ve got one that looks at well being we’ve got one that looks at ethnicity and culture, we’ve got one that supports our LGBTQ plus community, and who have I missed who have I missed, finds complex. Who have I missed, families, families, that too, I’ve missed, and families that looks at different families. So all of these groups in our Help help around the education around the support about the visibility, and bringing it to life at Metrobank. Because again, it’s not something that you can say and tick a box in. It’s not a place of attainment, it’s an ongoing thing. It’s a way of life, it’s a behavioral change, and it’s here to stay. So it’s no good saying we’re inclusive, we’ve got to do the inclusive. And you know, it’s not a noun, it’s a verb, I keep saying that with well being with diversity with inclusion is not noun, it’s a verb. And you’ve got to keep that doing and keep it going. And so there’s lots of things that we’re looking at. In particular, we’re looking so we’ve got this representation across our organization, we want to make sure that’s leveled up with senior leadership. And I think across lots of organizations, financial institutions, in particular, when you look at the higher levels, that’s when the representation diversity drops. So how do we make that better? How, how do we talk about it better?

Speaker 2 1:18:40
How do we drop the barriers to allow all people from everywhere to get into these roles, so that is our fifth red flag, if you are not linking financial wellbeing to your learning and development programs?

Al Elliott 1:18:53
Brilliant, so she’ll just quickly go through those five red flags and summarize. So Red flag number one is that you don’t have the data you’re not collecting it. Red flag number two is that no one’s talking about it. Red flag number three is that you’re treating the symptoms, not the underlying problem. Red flag number four is that your employees just simply aren’t accessing the support you’re you’re making available. And Red flag number five is you’re ignoring learning and development training. Have you worked through work your way through all of these five flags? Then you’re gonna end up with a really, really good financial well being program in place, but that takes time. What can you do right now, if you know that someone is struggling financially, you can ask them one simple question. Are you okay?

Speaker 1 1:19:41
Well, number one sign is people are taking off more and more time, but they’re taking off for stress more and more. The difficulty is maybe if they’re not prepared to if they’re not open about if they feel the organization’s not open for them to talk about their financial circumstances. This certainly not going to tell them why they’re off bill, let’s just say they’re off bill more and more, they might not be saying they’re off for stress, but they’re off a lot. There. There’s a whole load of signs, their behavior changes over a period of time. So normally when they’re very extrovert, they become more socially withdrawn. So there’s behavioral changes, which indicate to a manager or business owner and SME owner or any any manager, they are behavioral changes. Somebody who usually is very humorous, affable, becomes more socially withdrawn, all those kinds of subtle behavior changes, you see them. And the way you know, as an individual, you’re behaving differently is when somebody says to you, you don’t seem yourself care. You know, are you okay? Or you, somebody asked you, are you okay? And your response, your nonverbal response tells you the way you look at them, your body language, if they’re not okay, even though that what they may say is, yeah, I’m alright. I’m okay. MRI, how many times do people say that, when they’re asked that they do. So looking at the nonverbal forms of communication, looking at change of behavior, looking at sickness, absence rates, listening to what employees have to say about other people. And if you’re a good manager, and you’re walking the talk, then you’re going to hear all sorts of rumors, you know, chat from employees, about other employees, you know, frets a bit strange, he stays, he’s not really part of the team that, all of that that’s what you have to look for. But to do that, you have to be socially sensitive person, you have to really be a manager. That’s what a manager should be.

Speaker 2 1:22:06
I would like to finish this episode with some parting words of wisdom from professors. So Carrie Cooper, for business leaders, when it comes to managing the expectations of my favorite generation, the Gen Zed, some people say their views are unreasonable. Others say that transformational, his carries take,

Speaker 1 1:22:27
but it all sparks from the passion, the commitment, you know, not looking after just yourself and thinking, oh, I want to make sure my job secure. I’m just thinking, this is the right thing to do. If I fail, I fail. If I lose my job, I lose my job. And I, I believe in it. And I think that’s what we need more of, and particularly in the context of the UK, for example, with Brexit, boy, do we need more of it. Brexit was the biggest mistake ever, ever. In the UK, it’s been very, very damaging to business. So we need we need to reignite the passion. And we have a lot of people who are very passionate about what they do get it out there. But you know, the insecurity, the financial insecurity, the job insecurity, is driving much more conservative behavior. And we need to get rid of that and just let rip. Maybe the next generation will do it. In fact, I think so. The Zed generation, the young millennials are a different breed. First of all, they don’t have mortgages, so there’s no security to worry about. They don’t have it. And they call them the snowflakes, that generation. And that’s because they flipped from one organization to you know why they do that. They saw what happened to their parents, their parents were the 2008 to 2012 financial crisis, they saw how they were dumped by organizations, it was lack of loyalty. These people want good quality of working life. And they’re not afraid to ask for it. And that’s our future.

Leanne Elliott 1:24:06
Thank you so much to our three incredible guests today, to Professor Sir Carrie Cooper, to Khushboo Patel, and to Ryan Briggs, what a phenomenal panel you were thank you for all your advice. We will leave the links to all of our guests in the show notes. We’ll also leave a link to the financial wellbeing report that we’ve mentioned and structured this episode on

Al Elliott 1:24:29
yet we would love to continue the discussion on LinkedIn. Just search for truth lives and work you’ll find us Leanne’s on there all the time. I’ll occasionally pop up and say something salty and then disappear for another week. But ya know we do we really want to continue this conversation we and and we want to hear what you think of this. So for something we’ve missed out, let us know. Talking of missing out do not miss next week. I’m not going to tell you who it is but it is a serial entrepreneur. He has got about 15,000 different businesses. He’s been in New York Times He’s been all over the place. He is related to a previous guest we had or guests, so you may be able to work that out. But I love talking to him. It was a massive inspiration talking to him and he is coming next week, so make sure you’re subscribed. Make sure you don’t miss it.

Unknown Speaker 1:25:15
See you next week. Bye bye

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