financial wellbeing

Your money checklist for the new financial year

Your money checklist for the new financial year

Your money checklist for the new financial year 1920 1280 Amrik Birdi

Do you want to give your finances a fresh start in the new financial year? Is getting on top of money matters one of your new year’s resolutions?

Now is the perfect time to give your personal and business finances a fresh start ahead of the new financial year. Tick off this checklist to get your tax and pension plans in order and prepare for the end of the tax year on 5 April 2024.

4 things to do before 5 April to give your personal finances a fresh start: 


1. Are you on track to receive your full State Pension? 

The number of years you pay National Insurance (NI) for can affect whether you qualify for the State Pension and how much you’ll get. So now could be a good opportunity to make up for any lost time.

The deadline for paying any voluntary National Insurance (NI) contributions to make up for any lost time is 5 April each year. You can usually pay voluntary contributions for the past six years. Employee National Insurance Contributions (NICs) have reduced by two percentage points to 10% from 6 January 2024 for earnings between the primary threshold and the upper earning limit, giving employees a small boost to their take-home pay.

You can check your NI record or find out more about voluntary NI payments on the government’s website.

Can you top up your pension?
Pension plans are a tax-efficient way to save for your future. It normally costs £80 for a basic rate taxpayer to save £100 into their pension plan, thanks to pension tax relief. So, if your budget allows, why not top-up your pension before the tax year ends on 5 April.

Remember, you, your employer and any third party can pay in across all your pension plans £60,000 or 100% of your salary (whichever is lower) in any given tax year – this is called Annual Allowance.

2. Make the most of your capital gains tax exemption… before it reduces

Capital gains tax (CGT) is the tax you pay on the profit when you sell something that’s increased in value. The annual exemption on capital gains tax is reducing significantly in the new tax year – from £6,000 down to £3,000. So, if you have something worth selling, you may want to consider doing it before the end of the tax year.

3. Maximise your ISA allowances.

Your ISA (Individual Savings Account) allowance is £20,000 for the tax year. This means you can save up to £20,000 in a Cash or Stocks & Shares ISA, or a combination of both, and not pay any tax when you take your money out.

It’s a tax-efficient way to save, so make the most of this allowance if you can.

4. Get gifting!

You can give away a total of £3,000 worth of gifts each tax year without them being added to the value of your estate. This is known as your inheritance tax-free gift allowance. This can be carried over to the next tax year but if you don’t use it by the end of that year it’ll be lost.

So, if you’re planning to make a gift to someone, or have an unused allowance from last year, it might be a good idea to do this before the the tax year ends.

3 things to do before 5 April to give your business finances a fresh start: 

Pension salary sacrifice advice

1. Assess if pension salary sacrifice is right for your business

Implementing pension salary sacrifice can enable you to lower employer NICs – which you can either pass on to your employees in the form of additional pension contributions, reinvest back into the business or save it to strengthen net profits. Implementing salary sacrifice can also help attract and retain the best talent as part of a strong benefits package.

2. Look around at your options for payroll processing

Traditional outsourced payroll providers like to take on new clients for the start of the new financial year – it’s less work for all. It’s a good time to check your existing contracts or arrangements and see if you’re still getting value for money – what extras are included that you don’t get elsewhere?

If you process payroll in-house, is this limiting the growth of the business by burdening great staff with tasks that can be outsourced.

3. Double check for pension auto-enrolment inaccuracies

It’s a good time to check in with your HR and/or payroll team to see how confident they feel about your business meeting its auto-enrolment ‘employer duties’. It is commonplace for employers to overlook and/or not fully understand some of the initial and ongoing ‘employer duties’ under auto-enrolment leading to The Pensions Regulator issuing 20,382 compliance notices during the period January-June 2022 alone, for example.

Common errors we see include, but not limited to:

  • Issuing letters to those who are classed as ‘eligible’ workers (and auto-enrolled into the pension scheme) but not issuing communication to those postponed and/or classed as ‘not eligible’ about their right to join/opt-in to the pension scheme.
  • Issuing communication past the Regulator’s deadline of six weeks from when the duties applied.
  • Re-enrolling those who opted-out of the pension scheme every three years as part of their auto re-enrolment duties.
  • No record keeping.
  • Not being aware of the components of pay to be included in ‘pensionable pay’ or excluding certain components of pay, such as bonuses, commissions, overtime etc, but not amending the employer minimum contributions as prescribed by the legislation

How we can help

We’re passionate about making employers’ and employees’ lives easier, happier, and healthier so businesses can grow.  Our experts in pay and pensions can offer information and guidance on how to improve the financial wellbeing of your business and that of your employees.

For more information about unburdening your business from payroll and pension compliance visit our SMART Employment page or read more about supporting your employees’ financial wellbeing, emotional wellbeing and physical wellbeing here or get in touch

Amrik Birdi, Head of Operations at Growth Partners

blankAmrik has a wealth of knowledge in pensions having joined Growth Partners from KPMG where he was responsible for advising companies and trustees on independent DC provider procurement exercises, DC investment strategy review, DC pensions strategy review, automatic enrolment compliance, and meeting ongoing governance requirements. Amrik spent three years before this as a Pensions Guidance Specialist at Pensions Wise helping members understand their pension and retirement options, empowering them to take control of their retirement journey. With a Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning and Certificate in DC Governance, combined with a Degree in Economics, Amrik is a fully qualified pensions consultant and able to offer strategic support to our clients on their options for workplace pension schemes and auto-enrolment.


Research suggests bosses no longer understand employee needs

Research suggests bosses no longer understand employee needs 1920 1280 Growth Partners

The cost-of-living crisis and soaring inflation can significantly impact an individual’s financial stability and lead to increased stress levels. Recent research from Speakers’ Corner however reveals business leaders aren’t recognising the impact of the current economic climate on their employees’ stress levels. It isn’t intentional – they’re misinformed about the causes of stress among their employees, believing they directly align with their own.

According to the business owners surveyed, they believe the top five leading causes of stress for employees are:

  1. Heavy workload
  2. Long hours
  3. Tight deadlines
  4. Job security
  5. Changes to job role

When in fact, the top five leading causes of stresses for employees according to research by Unum are:

  1. Managing financially throughout the cost-of-living crisis
  2. Work-life balance
  3. Dealing with debt/mortgage interest rate rises
  4. Mental health concerns
  5. General health concerns

Business leaders are clearly interested in supporting their employees, with 92% of respondents currently providing support for their employees’ wellbeing. The problem is they are providing solutions for the wrong challenges. With 60% of employees finding that managing financially with the cost-of-living crisis is one of their biggest concerns, there is a clear need for financial wellbeing support.

What’s the impact?

Employers who don’t acknowledge the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on employees, are likely to struggle with employee retention. The cost-of-living crisis is expected to spark the ‘Great Resignation’ of 2023, with nearly a fifth of the UK workforce (19%) planning to look for new jobs this year with higher salaries or better employee benefits in light of the rising cost-of-living, stagnant wages and increasing financial insecurity (Unum, 2023).

Our CEO of employee services recently highlighted the importance of understanding the financial pressures employees are facing and how as business leaders you can support them to ease that pressure through the ongoing cost of living crisis.

“It’s actually about creating a framework whereby people know that you understand what’s going on and the impact it’s having on people in the wider society and your employees and the impact it has on them. They need to feel that you understand”.

Though managers, especially those in senior positions, may not feel the direct effects of the cost of living and inflation in the same way as their employees they need to be aware of the impact on their employees and take proactive steps to support them. By doing so, they can improve employee morale, productivity, and overall job satisfaction, which can positively impact the business as a whole.

Want to know more?

Read more about the benefits of financial wellbeing services or download our free guide to retaining and attracting staff.

Other useful resources:

Financial wellbeing support

How to support your employees’ financial wellbeing [Free downloadable guides]

How to support your employees’ financial wellbeing [Free downloadable guides] 1920 1280 Growth Partners

61% of UK adults currently saying they’re concerned about paying general household bills, and more than a third feeling anxious about their financial situation, it’s the perfect time to check on your employees’ financial wellbeing.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems in the UK – the Mental Health Foundation reports a quarter of adults have felt so anxious it stopped them from doing the things they want to do some or all of the time. In April, demand for our Employee Assistance Programme increased by 400% on the month previous, with our clients’ employees using the confidential counselling services for personal (72%) and work-related (28%) support.

It’s clear, as employers we must help increase awareness and understanding of these concerns and inform ourselves on how and why we can help support employees’ financial wellbeing and in turn their emotional wellbeing.

Financial wellbeing in the workplace 

There is a clear link between financial wellbeing (or financial wellness as its sometimes referred to) and emotional wellbeing and a very clear link to the impact they can have on productivity in the workplace.

In the year to March 2023, the price of food and drink rose at its fastest rate in over 45 years and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels rose by 26.1% (Money Statistics). All of which impact your employees’ take-home pay and ultimately their wellbeing – how happy and healthy they feel.

Looking out for your employees’ financial wellbeing is incredibly important, and the benefits for them and you, are more tangible than you may think. Financial worries negatively impact employee productivity and absence rates, causing the ‘presenteeism’ effect. If you haven’t already, seek support to enhance your financial wellbeing services and get advice from experts.

Ensuring the financial wellbeing of employees is an important aspect of creating a positive and productive work environment. Here are some things to consider…

4 things to consider when it comes to financial wellbeing:

  1. Open communication:

    Encouraging open communication about financial issues can help employees feel more comfortable discussing their financial concerns and seeking support when needed. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) can provide confidential support and counselling for a variety of issues, including financial stress. Do you have the systems in place to minimise absence days and ensure workers aren’t worrying about their finances while at work?

  2. Flexible working arrangements

    Offering flexible working arrangements, such as hybrid working, flexible hours, and job sharing, can help employees save on transportation and childcare costs and help reduce the pressure they may be under from increasing costs.

  3. Fair and competitive compensation

    Employees need to be paid fairly and competitively for their work. This includes not just their base salary, but also any benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, bonuses, and other ‘perks’ Do you have an employee discounts schemein place to help your employees’ wages go a bit further? Discount schemes can provide financial support by increasing your employees’ disposable income. Can you do anything to bring salary reviews forward to help people that little bit more, sooner? Have you reached out to local businesses your employees use to see how you can support each other e.g., negotiate reduced parking fees with a local car park or a discount at a local food outlet – can you reciprocate?

  4. Financial education and resources

    Providing financial education and guidance in the workplace can help employees understand personal finance, budgeting, investing, retirement planning and other important financial topics. This can include workshops, seminars, and online resources. Where do your employees go for financial guidance?  You can also signpost them to reputable sources such as Money Helper’s budget planner

Useful resources to support your employees’ financial wellbeing

  1. Discuss Budget Builders with your employees

    This one is provided by The Money Charity and it’s free and easy-to-use. It can be used to create an initial budget and keep track of day-to-day spending.  It does all the calculations for you and it can be used as a way of organising money across different bank accounts.

  2. Download our free New Ways of Saving Guide to share with your staff.

    Our savings guide gives you a simple guide to share with your employees – link to it from your internal communication systems, print some copies for the break room or ask line managers to share it with their team. However you use it, it’s full of ideas and tips designed to help your employees save money.

  3. Read: How to Support your employees to navigate through the cost-of-living crisis

    Recent research from Speakers’ Corner suggests business leaders are misinformed about the causes of stress among their employees, believing they directly align with their own. Heavy workload is the number one pressure for business leaders, whereas managing financially throughout the cost-of-living crisis came out top among employees. Knowledge is power and keeping abreast of ways to support your employees to navigate these uncertain times will help inform your financial wellbeing strategy.

  4. Help employees secure their future, with our free Employees FAQ Guide to Pension

    When it comes to financial wellbeing, information is key. By providing your employees with reliable, helpful information you’re empowering them to make informed decisions to benefit their future. This free guide answers some of the most commonly asked pension questions such as What makes pensions more rewarding than other kinds of savings? Would I benefit from combining my pensions into one? What are my options for taking my money?

  5. Download your free guide to creating a wellbeing and engagement strategy to attract and retain staff

    If keeping great staff is on your radar, our retention strategy guide will help. The guide focuses on how you can add a range of employee benefits and wellbeing services in a cost-effective way, without necessarily adding additional costs to your business.

What next?

If you’re concerned about your employees’ financial wellbeing and the impact on your business growth, chat with our experts for advice. We know the combination of reduced costs, unburdening your management team, and prioritising the happiness and health of your employees is the key to business growth. And we can provide an all-in-one solution to help.


Book a free demo of our all-in-one solution for payroll, pension and employee engagement services or contact us

The importance of employee engagement in hospitality

The growing importance of employee engagement [Hospitality Talks interview] 

The growing importance of employee engagement [Hospitality Talks interview]  2500 1667 Growth Partners

Each month Katy Moses, MD of KAM, chats with hospitality industry leaders as part of the Hospitality Talks series. In this latest episode, we share our insight, predictions, and advice to help the industry thrive.

In the new video our CEO of employee services, Scott Read discusses the growing importance of employee engagement and reveals new insights from our recent research.

Hospitality Talks: The Importance of Employee Engagement

Watch this episode of Hospitality Talks with KAM where we discuss our latest research and white paper and Scott’s thoughts on how to measure profitablity from employee engagement services.

Prefer to read?

Read the transcript of the discussion between Scott and Katy for this episode of Hospitality Talks here…

Hello, and welcome to this episode of Hospitality Talks. I am absolutely thrilled to be joined by Scott Read, who is the CEO of employee services for Growth Partners. Scott, thank you so much for joining me. We’ve had some research recently conducted that we did together about employee engagement services, but for anyone out there who hasn’t seen that research or doesn’t know who you are, do you just want to give a brief introduction?

Yeah, definitely. Thank you, Katie. Growth Partners is a payroll and pension business. We set it up about five years ago with a view of doing payroll and pensions very differently and adding a huge amount of value to what is traditionally commonly outsourced service that businesses will look to use, and that value is all around. How many other employee benefits, employee engagement type services could we include at a really cost effective way? In essence, can you get all of these tools and services at the same price as what you would normally outsource your payroll for? So something that’s commonly done, but ultimately not, given the wide range and breadth of additional services and value-added services alongside it.

We did that because both myself and the person who founded Growth Partners back in 2017 have a background in employee engagement – he had probably 20 years of experience and knowledge of the employment employee engagement sector, and I’d worked alongside him for the previous ten years. So it really helped us, and we felt that it was a way of getting employee benefits and employee engagement services to smaller to medium-sized businesses that wouldn’t traditionally invest in it.

Before I started KAM, I ran a recruitment agency. And, of course, employee benefits was a sort of buzz phrase that we used a lot of the time, and it encompassed holiday, maybe a gym membership. This is quite some time ago, remember? What is the difference between benefits and employment engagement services? What exactly is an employment engagement service?

I think it’s a great question, because employee benefits and employee engagement is massively misunderstood, and I think it means something different to everybody. I mean, even the people that you interviewed during the whitepaper we did together, they’ve all got a slightly different take on what employee engagement is, which is really interesting to read for me.

Employee engagement comes down to trying to achieve something within your business, right? And that sounds really vague, so I will explain…what I always talk to people about is, how can you unlock the discretionary effort from your employees?

And that’s the question that I pose myself, which is, effectively, I’ve got employees working nine to five or, I don’t know, six till ten in a pub or a restaurant or whatever, and everybody has a set of tasks that they need to do during their shift or during their day’s work. I personally have a to-do list that I write at the beginning of every day of the things that I want to achieve that day. And subconsciously, you have almost a level of acceptance of what looks good for the day. If I get to the bottom of that list, is that a good day? If I get the top three done because they’re quite massive tasks, is that a good day? And in reality, everybody has this subconscious acceptance of what good looks like.

And what I mean when I talk about unlocking that discretionary effort is, how do you get the individual to do the next two things on their to-do list even though the end of their shift is there, or even though they’ve already had a really productive day. And you can’t do that by management alone in terms of just asking them to do it for a start. It’s not right. Everybody’s got to get the work-life balance.

We are well beyond the ‘you work an extra hour and now because that’s just what’s expected of you, right?’ That’s not the culture that society sees as acceptable anymore – for all the right reasons, but actually, it’s about an individual caring, passionately about what they do, the company that they work for, and wanting to go above and beyond.

And I guess a couple of examples for me, it would be:

Technically it’s clocking off time (whether we have a technical clock in off time or not is another question for another day) but ultimately I can look at my to-do list and say, no, do you know what? There are two or three things that I still need to get done today because I don’t want them to dictate or change what tomorrow looks like or the next working day.

Or for somebody else, it might be the element of my job is to serve the food. But actually, I’ve got two minutes whilst I’m waiting for the food to be ready from the chef, and I can see that the dust bins are overflowing and need to be emptied. So actually, I’m going to take it upon myself to do that extra bit, when actually I could be completely justified in standing there and waiting for the food to be ready for me to serve. But instead of being told by my manager to do something, I’m voluntarily doing it and going the extra mile.

So it’s very much about using employee engagement services to create a positive culture within businesses where you are working as a team by choice, and actually, you want as the employee to add as much value as the employer is adding to your life, essentially. 

I think so many businesses, for all the right reasons, look at employee engagement as almost a list of employee benefits. And what you can do is you can believe you’re doing a truly amazing job for your staff. And genuinely, you’re convinced that you’re doing everything right because in front of you, you have a checklist of “do I do anything about emotional wellbeing? Do I pay people the right? Are people getting holidays more than statutory? What are all the things that we do?” And you can go down this tick list and you could tick every single one of them and go, brilliant, look how great we are as an employer. 

But actually, do you regularly pay them late? Do people wake up on payday and not know whether their money is going to be in their account first thing or whether it’s going to be mid-afternoon? Now, that one act in itself undoes everything else that you’re trying to do. 

And even if you get that right, do you actually create a culture whereby people understand why you’re putting these benefits in place, what the benefits actually are to the employee? Because in reality, a really good employee benefit or employee engagement culture, there should be benefits to the employees, but also to the employer. And it’s that double-handed approach of. Why are we doing this? Are we communicating? Why are we doing it? And I guess, more importantly, what’s the strategy behind every element of it? 

There’s no point ticking and saying, we’ve got the most popular top ten employee benefits. So what if they’re not relevant to you or they’re not being used an example of that is ‘we do a cycle to work scheme. Yeah, but your staff might all live literally 200 yards from the building.’ What benefit is that really doing? You’re creating maybe a green culture and it fits with another strategy that you might have, but is it actually the right place for you to invest your money to support your staff? And conversely, people might have a cycle-to-work scheme in as much I know you like your bikes, but if I was to get on a bike, I’m talking about that’s a 50 miles journey to work every day. It’s not realistic that that cycle-to-work scheme is going to be something that actually motivates me. 

So find the right benefits for your staff and have a strategy about what is it that you want to implement? Why are you implementing it? Can you then communicate that to all so that they understand what you’re trying to do? And then ultimately, can you measure whether that’s having an impact on your business or not? And for me, it’s the strategy and the communication piece that takes it from a list of things that you can do to actually driving engagement and driving that of the discretionary effort. Because if the employee doesn’t understand what you’re trying to do and why, then you’ll never unlock it.

I suppose this isn’t just about attracting new staff, is it? I mean, these are some statistics, I think, that were in the white paper that we wrote together – there were 149,000 hospitality vacancies at the end of last year and you’ve got all of these fantastic initiatives like Hospitality Rising who are going to come in and change the perception of the industry and make it a more attractive place to work. But presumably we all know that it is cheaper and easier to retain the staff that you’ve got than it is to bring on new staff. So does employee engagement have a place to sit in that area of hospitality as well in the retention? 

Absolutely. I think one of the people who was interviewed used the phrase that “employee engagement services are an essential part of a business and then they went on to say they’re costly, but ultimately, if they’re applied right, it’s worthwhile rather than a cost.” And I think the problem that you’ve got with employee engagement services (and it’s a challenge that’s been there since employee engagement benefits became a thing in reality) is so many businesses look at them as a drain on the bottom line because there’s a £10,000 cost or £50,000 depending upon the size of the organisation, ultimately people see it as well that’s money off the bottom line and we’re not going to get a return on that. 

The hardest thing to do if you’re trying to sell it to somebody is to give them the tangible benefit from a monetary point of view. Businesses that adopt it and work it really well have stopped trying to monetise what it does for them. Ultimately, they just know that over a period of time, their staff loyalty increases, retention increases, recruitment costs go down, and productivity goes up.

The other thing the white paper does is clearly talk about the link between happiness and productivity 

That in itself has to mean happiness equals productivity, which ultimately is what every CEO and FD is after within their organisation anyway. 

But probably not the first strategy that they put together to demonstrate how they were going to be profitable in the first place. They’re much more likely to go and speak to a supplier about reducing costs or chain supplier to get more margin in a product than they are thinking about, I need to invest in my staff because that will ultimately get us greater profitability. The reason for that is because they are tenuous financial examples that you will give. You have to a certain extent take a leap of faith that by investing in this you’ll get a return. 

I think the key thing that I also need to stress there is that if ultimately the management within your organisation isn’t supporting what you’re trying to do by creating that culture, then please don’t invest in it because it will just be money off the bottom line. Because how it is communicated, how you then manage your staff, how you pay them properly on time, how you encourage them to save or make their money go further. All of those things are pointless if fundamentally you’ve got a bad manager running a site because it just that’s the thing that overrides everything. So the management have to be on board with what the strategy is. 

So it’s a top-down strategy that everybody needs to be engaged with. And one of the things that I’ve always found is how do you make sure that all those managers are invested in it. And we all as people managers give our staff objectives. How many give them people objectives? In my opinion, every manager should have a people objective as much as a financial or a commercial one. 

I agree. I wholly agree. And I think that we are as an industry changing for the better when it comes to looking after our people. But there is still a way to go. And obviously having access to employment engagement services is one of the tools that we should all be looking at to recruit and retain. 

Scott, thank you so much for your time. I’m afraid that is all that we have time for. Although I am going to come and personally pick your brains on employment engagement and see what we’re doing right and wrong at CAM and see where we should be making some changes. 

Employee engagement services in hospitality research paper

Our new study led by insights and research consultancy KAM reveals how employees in the hospitality sector feel about the employee engagement services available to them. Download a copy here.


About Growth Partners

We’re a payroll provider and so much more. We’re on a mission to make employers’ and employees’ lives easier, happier and healthier. We provide an end-to-end solution for payroll, pensions and employee engagement services. You can book a demo here or see how much you can save, or even earn by outsourcing services to us.


How to attract and retain staff with a retention strategy [Your Free Guide]

How to attract and retain staff with a retention strategy [Your Free Guide] 1458 1152 Growth Partners

If finding and keeping great staff is important to you this year, an employee retention strategy is key.

Our retention strategy guide will help you create an effective wellbeing and engagement strategy for your business that will help you to attract and retain staff. The guide focuses on how you can add a range of employee benefits and wellbeing services in a cost-effective way, without necessarily adding additional costs to your business.

The guide includes:

  • The importance of having a retention strategy
  • The three pillars of wellbeing, future challenges
  • How to implement your plan

Download your free guide to develop a retention strategy suited to your business needs.



Why is January traditionally a bad month for business?

Why is January traditionally a bad month for business? 1920 1280 Scott Read

I think January is a conflict. It’s an exciting time for businesses because it’s a chance to restart again – employees return to work fresh, and are raring to go because they’ve had a nice period of time off. Everywhere I’ve worked, I’ve always encouraged the business to have a bit of down time over Christmas, because it’s traditionally a difficult time to make meaningful decisions, so getting that down time really helps employees. Unfortunately, the flip side is that as January progresses, the whole concept of Blue Monday appears on the horizon and gets loads of press, both positive and negative.

The principle of Blue Monday was something that started as a positive to help identify, not just to individuals, but also to businesses, that there’s a time in that month of January where employees could be under increased stress and pressure, and genuinely just feel rubbish. The post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights, and the fact that their latest credit card bill has just arrived with all their Christmas food shopping, with the realisation that, “oh, I got through it all, but now I’ve got to pay for it all.” It can be stressful.

I think this year also, added into that, the fact that people are already feeling the pinch, people are already stretched, there’s already a cost-of-living crisis. So, I don’t quite know how Blue Monday will be perceived. It could almost be bigger and louder than ever, or it could also be just another blow to the UK economy or the UK employees that says “do you know what life’s hard, life’s difficult.” Another thing to bear in mind is the sheer amount of workers that have been striking as well in December, whose pay will be adversely affected by those number of working days, they’ve nobly given up to make the stand they’re standing. So, finances will be tight for millions of people this month.

The Blue Monday movement to encourage conversation, rather than just sitting there reflecting on how we feel, has turned this time of year into an opportunity as an employer to try and create a conversation, a debate, a safe environment, a forum, where people can go to get some advice, get some help, realise they’re not on their own. I think it was the Samaritans who started to take a slightly different approach, and again, I would certainly advocate for that. But again, the biggest challenges businesses have is that financial pressures are probably still the biggest or second biggest taboo that people don’t want to talk about. According to Lloyds Banking Group survey in 2019, 50% of UK adults believe discussing personal money matters is taboo. Another study by OnePoll in December 2021 revealed that over a third of British people struggle to discuss money, and one in ten people are not willing to discuss finances – even with their partner. So, whilst talking, sharing, and seeking help, support and guidance is the right thing to do, it’s still discussing finances is a sensitive subject area that so many people are just not prepared to visit.

So, the Samaritan’s ‘Brew Monday’ campaign is a brilliant idea, but it won’t work for everybody. What businesses have got to think about is a multi-layered strategy of what they’re trying to do. A conversation and a cup of tea is brilliant with the right people, but is there also somewhere confidential people can phone and talk to? Is it also layered up with a financial plan to try and support your employees? What have you done prior to Christmas? Had you avoided doing anything because you were waiting for the pinch after? If you haven’t done anything, January has got to be the perfect time to do something, right? If you can help employees, then do so.

In your experience of managing people and working in employee engagement, how is January in comparison to other months?

I think it’s a difficult question to answer, because if you work in employee engagement, you’re probably more attuned to having to do something to look after your employees every month anyway. So therefore, the shock of January is less of a shock, because you know it’s coming, you’ve tried to take that into account as part of your employee engagement strategy for the full year.

I think what you do see is an influx of people, clients, being more interested in coming up with engagement strategies at the beginning of the year. That could be due to spotting that there are some challenges and fixes that need to be made, or it could be just one of those New Year’s resolutions of “we need to do more of this”. Unfortunately, so many of these resolutions then fall away as the year unfolds, and you’re left with just activity at the beginning of the year. So I think there is a little more focus around employee engagement in the first part of the year, for those reasons. But again, it comes down to the strategy you start at the beginning of the year, needing to be planned out for the whole year. Not just “right, this is what we’re going to do this month” because it’s then very easy to forget that February and March are just as important for supporting employees.

I always remembered that February and March were almost the best months of the year financially, bizarrely. One is the time between paydays between January and February (or February and March dependent on pay date), which always feels shorter because it’s such a short month. The other is the fact that you don’t have to pay your council tax payment in February and March which always means there’s that little extra money in the pot, to think “what bill can I pay now with that money that would normally pay the council tax?” Obviously counterbalanced that council tax normally goes up again in April, but you know in reality there are little things like that which you still need to think about strategy wise, what you’re going to do to follow on from it.

To sit down and have a conversation in January is brilliant, or highlighting the levels of support is brilliant, but that needs to continue throughout the year. I think there’s never been a more relevant time to have a conversation than the current cost of living crisis, and I don’t see that that’s changing anytime soon. The Bank of England hiked UK interest rates by 0.5 percentage points to 3.5% in December, its ninth consecutive rate increase, and I suspect they could go up again, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

What are the key signs to look out for when it comes to helping employees in January? 

If we’re talking about, as a result of the financial pressures, this definitely isn’t just about January. I think they’re the same signs throughout the year. People becoming reserved, people being distracted with other things, people not looking like they’re focused or able to concentrate and their mind is elsewhere, could well be because it is. And I think you’ve got to try and find time to sit and talk to people. That’s what your line managers are for. Are you gearing your line managers up with the right skillset and knowledge to be able to go and have those conversations? I imagine every organisation will be setting objectives for the beginning of the year. How many of those conversations are you asking about “how are you personally, how are you coping, what are your challenges away from work?” Not that you can necessarily create a bespoke plan for every individual, because each person’s circumstances are different, but it’s worth considering that kind of wellbeing check.  Again, it will really grate if businesses haven’t had any previous conversations and haven’t done anything to support their employees through the cost-of-living crisis. For those businesses that have tried to show their support and that they understand the impact, I think, and I would hope that that would earn them the right to be able to ask the question of “how are you coping?” Now, whether you get the truthful answer or not, nobody can ever tell. But I think if you’ve earned the right to ask how people are coping, the feedback and the anecdotal stuff that you get back should help you as a business shape what to do next.

What could businesses reading this do to address issues around wellbeing and morale?

I’m going to sound like a broken record but I think businesses have to have a strategy when it comes to addressing issues around wellbeing and morale. They have to think about the three key elements of wellbeing, four if you want to open it up into social wellbeing as well. They have to have a clearly defined strategy as to what they’re doing, where the employees understand the different strands of that strategy, what they’re trying to achieve, and why they’re trying to achieve it. I think then, you get an idea as to whether what you’re doing is enough.

I think when it comes to the moral side of it, it’s interesting. Sometimes you get a much more positive morale at a time where things are really dark and difficult. So just because you’ve got a brilliant morale doesn’t mean everything is fine from a wellbeing point of view. If I look at our team at the minute, it feels like we have a really good morale in the building, but I wouldn’t say everyone’s wellbeing is perfect, so I think they are two distinctly different things. And again, it’s about having an understanding of why the two are different. Some people might not be partaking in the morale because they’re struggling with their wellbeing, in terms of financial or emotional wellbeing, they could be stressed, and that could be a sign as to why they’re not getting involved in the morale element or the engagement element of the business. Conversely, you could have someone who’s the heart and soul of the office from a morale point of view, because it’s the best distraction from the turmoil that’s going on at home or in their own life. It’s not the same for everybody. You need to be focussed and care about everyone and try and come up with a plan for everyone, but the ones that are the biggest problems if you misidentify it, are the ones where they withdraw from work because of all financial pressures and it becomes a spiral, especially when there is no form of understanding or communication. Because they withdraw from work, their performance suffers. As a business then you’re under pressure, or there is a temptation to performance manage, which can put their job at risk, which then ironically means that their financial situation is more unstable than it was before.

If there was a book called “these are the signs to look out for”, it would be lovely, unfortunately there’s not, everyone’s different. Those behaviour models, you’ll have some people who want to talk about everything and will come in and tell you about everything, and other people who will just sit there being the best friend and support to that person, but actually be in a bigger hole themselves. And unfortunately, that’s just the nature of human beings, everyone’s different and you need to be aware and prepare for that.

Scott Read, CEO of Employee Services at Growth Partners

Scott Read Growth Partners discusses the link between employee engagement and retention

Scott Read is a results-driven business leader with a proven track record in helping employers strategise key business growth through employee engagement.

Want to know more?

You can read more about Scott’s thoughts on employee engagement and the key to retaining staff or download Scott’s five-point-plan to drive employee engagement.

If you would like help creating an employee engagement strategy, or to discuss financial wellbeing services for your employees speak to our business growth experts who will be happy to help. You can also read more about our SMART Employment model or book a demo of our all-in-one solution to help make employers’ and employees’ lives easier, happier and healthier here


Demand for our counselling services has doubled

Demand for our counselling services has doubled 1920 1139 Scott Read

Over the past few months, there has been significant attention on the current cost of living crisis, with the Bank of England predicting that Britain is facing its longest recession since records began. It is clear the financial pressures people are facing will have a direct impact on their emotional wellbeing.

The impact is already evident. The number of people seeking help from our Employee Assistance Programme has doubled and the number of people downloading our self-help documents has increased month on month since the summer. Because of the confidentiality, it’s impossible to say that that’s all about finances, but that increase has absolutely aligned with the cost-of-living crisis, and the more publicity it’s getting in the media, the more attention it’s getting on our app. So, it is impossible to say that there isn’t a link. There is an underlying emergency in the background that isn’t even close to scratching the surface yet.

In August Mind reported its Infoline saw a 30% rise compared to the year previous in calls related to finance, and in July alone, Samaritans received 12,000 emotional support contacts mentioning finance concerns. YoungMinds also tracks young people’s experiences of mental health, and, for the first time, ‘worries about money’ was found to be the top concern and negative influence on their mental health. In a recent survey Newsround reported that of the 2,081 children they surveyed 72% were worried about the cost-of-living crisis.  A much bigger concern highlighted in the report is that 12% of children reported that they weren’t eating three meals each day, as often as they were three months ago. One in seven of those who skipped meals said it was because there wasn’t enough food at home, and just under one in 10 said it was because they couldn’t afford to buy food at school.

As business leaders and people who run businesses, it’s important to understand the financial pressures your employees face with the rising costs of everyday goods, such as food, energy, and petrol, and how this may impact their mental wellbeing. What can you do to show that you understand their financial pressures and how can you support them to ease that pressure through the ongoing cost of living crisis?

What is the link between financial wellbeing and emotional wellbeing?  

It is impossible not to connect the two. People who are under financial stress behave differently, that different behaviour might be stress related. It might be drinking or dependence on substances. It might just mean that they go quiet and introverted. The 2008 global financial crisis is an example of the intrinsic link between financial wellbeing and emotional wellbeing. The financial crisis was associated with a reversal in previously falling suicide rates in England and increases in suicide attempts and depression, particularly in males. And now, 14 years later, the ongoing cost of living crisis is similarly affecting people. Mental Health Concern recently reported a 90% increase in overall referrals over the past six months, with one in five people experiencing suicidal thoughts – a 196% increase on the previous six months, with many of those cases directly linked to the rising cost of living. One case worker from Mental Health Concern reported that out of 28 clients she was working with, 25 were facing financial challenges, with 11 having tried to take their own life at some point.

Understanding your employees’ financial wellbeing

It sounds churlish for a manager or leader to say, I understand; we’re all suffering, we’re all struggling. Technically yes, we’re all impacted, but not everyone is struggling. Even if you can relate to it – because there are a lot of people who earn a lot of money who also struggle financially for a variety of reasons – the general worker won’t believe that members of the leadership team are struggling because it is a perception that is created. So even if you can relate, it doesn’t come across in the most relatable way if you’re trying to have the conversation. The key is showing your employees that you understand the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on them and them feeling that you understand this.

Showing your employees you understand

You have to have an ongoing long-term strategy of what you’re going to do, and not all of that strategy is around measures that are necessarily going to impact the financial situation of your employees. So yes, you can invest in discount schemes where in theory, your employees can stretch their money and make it go further or Employee Assistance Programmes, and yes, in isolation, both those things are great, but they become one facet of the strategy.

So, what can you do in the short term that says “I understand that this is impacting you, and I want to help?

  • Subsidise lunches
    Is there a local business that sells sandwiches that people go to at lunchtime? Ca you negotiate something that makes those sandwiches half-price because you are going to subsidise it for anyone that goes in with your lanyard on? This might be extremely niche and nuanced, but it might make a massive difference because suddenly, you are subsiding people’s lunches. It might not be a long-term thing, but it is a short-term difference that says I understand that this impacts you. 
  • Provide snacks in the office
    Put snacks in the office, where half has to be subsidised by the business so you can control the flow, and people still have to contribute to it, but it’s a contribution you’re making.
  • Pay for parking
    One of the things we’ve just done is looked at our parking policy and found that there were a number of people who weren’t eligible for a parking space or didn’t get a parking space as often as they needed to. So, we looked at it and said for those who aren’t issued a parking space when they are in the office, bring in a receipt, and we’ll cover the costs. 
  • Turn your Christmas hamper into a Christmas voucher
    Hampers are great, but let’s be honest – half of the cost is the hamper itself. So instead of a Christmas hamper, can you buy a Christmas voucher instead?

All these things are little things that can be done to make sure that what you’re trying to do has as much relevance as possible in the current climate. It will show an element of empathy and understanding with your workforce. They might only have a short-term impact, but the long-term impact is that your employees believe you understand the challenges they’re going through.

There are, of course, grand gestures you can do, whether that be bringing planned pay increases forward or providing a no strings attached bonus. Often the grand gestures are unviable for all businesses so each business needs to think about what’s achievable. Even if those grand gestures are achievable for your business, it’s still important to make the smaller gestures too, because those grand gestures often get forgotten a few months down the line. It’s about the perception that people understand that you genuinely understand the challenges that they’re going through.

There absolutely is a link between financial wellbeing and mental health, and the more that employers can put in place to support people’s mental health, the better but it isn’t quite as simple as saying “I know that there is a cost of living crisis out there that’s going to be impacting peoples mental health, therefore here you go here’s a counselling service that you can contact”. It’s actually about creating a framework whereby people know that you understand what’s going on and the impact it’s having on people in the wider society and your employees and the impact it has on them. They need to feel that you understand.

For more information about how we can help you and support your employees navigate through the cost of living crisis, visit our SMART Employment page and read more about supporting your employees’ financial wellbeingemotional wellbeing and physical wellbeing.

Scott Read, CEO of Employee Services at Growth Partners

Scott Read Growth Partners discusses the link between employee engagement and retention

Scott Read is a results-driven business leader with a proven track record in helping employers strategise key business growth through employee engagement.


PANEL TALK: Taking care of your staff – understanding the 5 pillars of employee wellbeing in the workplace

PANEL TALK: Taking care of your staff – understanding the 5 pillars of employee wellbeing in the workplace 900 675 Growth Partners

We joined a panel of experts at The Great British Business Show to discuss the importance of wellbeing in the workplace. Our CEO of employee services Scott Read took part in the discussion offering guidance on how to support your employees’ mental health and wellbeing and the importance for your business. 

Scott joined fellow panellists Andrew Snowball from Money Life Balance, Dr Thomas Schroeck from The Natural Gem and Jan Smolaga of Action Challenge Ltd to answer the following questions… 

How do you think office culture influences employee engagement and wellbeing?

THOMAS: The culture of the company is very important for the employees. We give the right spirit and the right thinking to our employees. We treat them well, and with respect. I would say it enhances their quality of life and the quality of their work. We have a setting which is pleasant for everybody, and we keep the distances between employees very thin, so everybody’s reachable. We have a culture of not criticising failures but improving personal behaviour, asking people to improve and change, and this always works in a very positive way. So coming back to the question, I think culture significantly influences the well-being of the employees. 

ANDREW: I agree with Thomas. It’s important to have a progressive culture within an organisation. I think it’s also important to remember that there’s a lot that makes up an individual’s wellbeing. It’s not just the workplace environment, but it’s the home life and the economic situation. So, when working on the business’ engagement and culture, it’s important to have a broader understanding of your staff members. To get that engagement, you need that understanding on an individual level, what motivates them, and what stresses they may have. That’s become abundantly clear with the pandemic and people working from home. It is important to understand that it’s part of a bigger circle in terms of their personal wellbeing, social wellbeing, mental wellbeing, their physical wellbeing, and their financial wellbeing. 

JAN: I agree with both of you. I think the question, how does office culture affect employee wellbeing actually makes up two separate things. You can’t measure employee wellbeing, but the office culture shows you. So, they’re more interconnected than two separate things, they independently influence each other.  

SCOTT: Just to expand on the answer, I think, so many businesses think about the culture within the business without thinking about employee engagement and wellbeing, whereas I don’t think you can separate them. I think the same drivers that you would use to drive a positive culture within the business are the same drivers you should be using to look at how you engage with your employees, how you focus on their wellbeing and they in turn feed into a positive culture.

Ultimately, the key levers for me are around communication, leadership, compassion, understanding, and knowledge. I think, if you looked at that from a culture point of view, you would focus on it, but you might not necessarily look at all of those things if you weren’t focused on employee engagement. I think, too often, it gets missed because you focus on a culture – how many businesses have an employee who said “oh the culture in our organisation is great” but actually nothing is being done for either engagement and wellbeing. And I think there are missed opportunities for dozens of businesses out there to really think about the same strategy, but different strands of the strategy. 

JAN: It’s like you say, Scott, office culture comes from the top down, but it also comes from the bottom up, as Andrew said. It’s led by the employees, their home life, and what’s going on outside of the office. Companies will focus on benefits like free lunches, which is great, but if people aren’t engaging with that, then it’s a waste of endeavour.

THOMAS: The culture within a company should enable the people to develop. It’s important to ask employees where do you want to go; this is both a personal and professional question. I’m a massive fan of people developing inside the company. I want to understand our employees’ vision so I can help understand where they want to go, what areas they want to develop and how we, as a business, can provide them with what they need to succeed.

JAN: What you’re measuring for workplace culture is the symptoms, not the culture itself. If you’ve got good retention, team cohesion, and productivity, they’re all symptoms of a positive workplace culture.


How can you measure your workplace culture? Can you measure if it is improving over time?

SCOTT: For me, with everything, whether it’s office culture or employee engagement, you have to have a strategy for what you are trying to achieve. If you understand the type of business you want to be and the type of culture you want to set, it’s much easier as a starting point. So many cultures find businesses by accident because one or two leaders within the business almost drive it accidentally. Whereas I would certainly advocate that for smaller, new businesses, it should be part of their strategic thought process in the first place. In terms of how you measure it, what you’re trying to measure is intangible, and if you’re a new start-up, you’ve not necessarily got that base mark to compare it against.

Where it becomes a strategy that you enhance overtime, you’ve got more measurable statistics than you realise, in terms of your staff churn rate and what productivity was looking like a year ago before you implemented the strategy. They become the base marks, but ultimately, they might not show you a massive difference in what you’ve achieved. You may have achieved huge things beyond that, just in terms of the way people feel or feel supported. It’s difficult to get to, but one of the key things is when you’ve got a workforce that has opportunities to go and earn more money, doing a similar job elsewhere, but they’re still with you; that’s probably the most successful and tangible result you can see.

JAN: What you’re measuring for workplace culture is the symptoms, not the culture itself. If you’ve got good retention, team cohesion, productivity, that’s all symptoms of a positive workplace culture.

With a workforce that is becoming more hybrid and more remote, what have you found that has worked well in keeping up that level of engagement with your employees and their wellbeing? 

JAN: From my own experience, it’s nice having that flexibility, but, time with employees whether that’s physically in the same place or whether it’s socially over zoom or anything like that can work. Our client base over the last few years has been so hungry to get their teams physically in the same place, to do something together, whether that be a challenger event like a trek or walking up a mountain or doing a mastermind day to get them away from the pressures of work. That’s one way to do it if budgets allow it.

SCOTT: I’m not going to lie; it’s been one of the biggest challenges we’ve had in the last 12 months. The one thing I will say is, you can’t please everybody all the time, no matter what you try and do. The biggest technique you can have is your ability to listen and be prepared to be flexible. One of the biggest challenges I’ve found was how do you keep what I class as that photocopier moment, whereby there’s that moment of opportunity where something gets discussed on the fly, and actually it becomes quite an important part of the business. I’ve found that when people are working from home, we all operate much more on a to-do list basis; therefore, having that conversation at the photocopier becomes something on your list rather than a moment of opportunity. We’ve tried to find a balance with our hybrid working and allow employees to work more flexibly, but we’ve also tried to put in days where we encourage everybody to be in the office.

You then obviously need to look at social interaction and what forms of communication you have to try and ensure the dialogue doesn’t dry up because I think for all the businesses that talk about hybrid increasing productivity, there’s a mirrored version where productivity drops, which isn’t quite as popular to talk about if we’re completely honest, but I think it’s a reality. So it isn’t easy, and it’s something that we’re still working on perfecting, but the only way we perfect it is by the feedback from the employees. 

ANDREW: Talking from a personal experience, what we’ve found that works is regular contact, whether that’s once or twice a week. But, as the other alluded to, being able to listen and being able to adapt is key to being able to support the employee.


For companies with micro managers, how do you ensure they are looking after their employees’ wellbeing and following the company’s culture?

SCOTT: For me, it comes down to the leadership right at the top of the organisation. The only way you will instil it is if it becomes one of the key KPIs that every manager in every department has to focus on because it’s the only way it will remain on their to-do list of things they need to focus on. Ideally, you don’t want employee engagement and leadership on a to-do list; you want it to be part of the innate culture that develops naturally and that you develop with your people over a period of time to improve progression within the business. Unfortunately, so many people get lost in their to-do lists because they’re easily forgotten.

So the only way is to ensure every department and manager has an engagement/people focussed objective as one of their key objectives. Measuring can become a management nightmare, but you have to embed it at least; otherwise, it just won’t happen consistently. 

JAN: From Action Challenges point of view, we are quite a small business – we have 15 full-time employees. The benefit of that means that director level is directly exposed to the staff, sitting amongst them or on the same open plan floor. The downside of that is director level is exposed to all the staff! You get a really quick indicator of the mood but it also means that some staff will hold back.

How much do you focus on financial wellbeing? What do you do to enforce it within your business?

SCOTT: At this moment in time, financial wellbeing is the hot topic out there from a wellbeing perspective, but it needs to be put into context; you need to have a strategy for all elements of wellbeing. I’m not a big believer that you pay a person more money and assume you’ve done your job. I think it’s about education. I think it’s about understanding not just the education of how things work but how people can access the right advice, the best advice, independent advice and understand the content in which you are providing that support as a business; there’s no business benefit to you it’s purely what’s the right thing for your employees. Therefore, a lot of the work that needs to be done is around trust in the first instance because you can talk about wellbeing in the other areas, and people will trust that you’re looking after them.

When you start to talk about finances, there becomes a little bit more distrust that there must be something in it for the business, and that’s why you’re trying to encourage it, so currently, it’s a really topical and challenging solution, there isn’t one strand to it that will fix it, but it’s trying to let people know first and foremost that you understand the challenges that they’re under and you’re trying your best to support them and go to the right experts across the marketplace that can support your staff much better than you can. The bit that I would link and why I’m reluctant to just talk about financial wellbeing is that billions of people out there will be having emotional challenges due to financial wellbeing challenges that they’re not prepared to face yet. Therefore, it becomes part of a wider strategy rather than just one strand.

THOMAS: I think it’s a very important part of our work. In my company, we usually overpay by about 20% – this is one thing to attract the right people or attract interesting people and give them some convenient living level. The challenges I see now are the increases in inflation and the increase in costs. We are having discussions with the management team at the moment about how we want to deal with this going forward because we can see that bills such as gas have increased from £200-£300 to £800-£900. This is an inflation point that isn’t seen in the official figures. This is one part; the other part is how we can help people progress in their life in all areas. We have a programme where our employees can approach us and tell us, I want to do a university course, I need Fridays off to accommodate my studies, or maybe they want help financially to fund the course, which often we will support. We also offer communication courses to improve their communication ability and always try to be a good example for such a way of thinking.

ANDREW: Full disclosure, we’re a financial advice company – one of the core activities we carry out is financial planning and helping people with financial management. I agree with Scott in that the focus isn’t just on finances because it is about the emotional and the physical, but speaking from not having control or understanding of where you are with your finances can have a detrimental impact on your emotional and mental wellbeing.

One of the things that businesses can do is start off by educating, that’s not necessarily taking on a financial advisor or planner, but it is bringing in the independent expertise to start talking about structure and basic financial plans to help them have some control in their life.


People are often promoted based on their technical ability and put into leadership positions without people management skills. If someone has the right technical skills but lacks the skills to manage on a day-to-day basis, are they the right person for the job? 

SCOTT: I think, and I hope, that this is something that is slowly moving out of successful businesses. I believe that if, for a long period of time, you’ve built employee engagement and people skills into people’s objectives, then hopefully, you’re going to promote them into that key position because they’ve achieved those objectives as well as the technical or commercial ones. You’ll find that the businesses that still – and I’m probably going to offend people here – but businesses that play at employee engagement and employee wellbeing are the ones that will continue to have challenges. When people have a clear strategy and a clear job description, then actually, the best candidate for the job isn’t the person with the best technical skills; it’s the person with the best all-around skills. 

JAN: From the perspective of a small organisation, relatively flat and wide in terms of structure, that’s less of an issue. We have a pretty good internship scheme where we bring people in, they can try a few things, and we’ve got the flexibility that if someone takes on a role if their promoted to a management position and it doesn’t quite work out, we’re able to quite flexibly move them across. I think, the larger an organisation gets, the more difficult because the structures are quite rigid.

What is your view on where an employer’s responsibility starts and stops when looking after the wellbeing of your employees?

SCOTT: I would have a slight question or clarification on the term ‘responsibility’. I think responsibility is quite a harsh word. If it’s about what level of support a business should provide its employees and where that starts and stops, my answer would be that it doesn’t start and stop. It’s completely continuous, whether it’s inside of work or outside of work. Businesses need to realise that what’s affecting the wellbeing of the employee in any aspect of their life will transmit through to what they see at work, and that’s what you see from genuinely the health of someone, right down to the impact it’s having on your productivity. So, it doesn’t matter if they are in physical tip top condition, because actually someone in their family might not be and that’s having an impact on their thought process, it still is your responsibility, in my opinion as an employer, to try and support them. 

JAN: Yeah, I agree with that. Top-down it is the company’s responsibility to provide the framework for that employee’s wellbeing to grow. Still, the employees are responsible as well for what they’re bringing. Obviously, you have got to be aware of what’s going on. I’ve just started a family, so through that, you have to consider, paternity leave, and flexibility, and sometimes they get sick and you have to take time off. So, there’s an awareness of that, but employees have to take some responsibility also, which is where they fill in that framework that the company provides.

THOMAS: The employee is an individual and completely responsible for themselves. We, as an employer, open up a framework. We offer different things; flexibility, a good salary, and benefits. But ultimately, it’s all down to motivation; is the employee willing to work with us? They are free to choose to go somewhere else if the framework is better. So, for me, it starts with having a self-responsible individual in front of us. The motivation and how they work for us is their obligation. Our obligation is to provide a good framework that helps to develop them

SCOTT: It’s the first time someone’s going to disagree slightly. While I understand where Tom comes from, my view is somewhat different. The reason I changed the word from ‘responsibility’ to ‘support’ is that it becomes difficult to be responsible for every aspect of an employee’s life. However, we all employ people with the knowledge or the belief that they’re the right person for our organisation. So, at one point, we believe that they had the right motivation, the right skills, and the right desire to be able to do the job. Now, we’re not always right. We’re proven to be wrong more than we would like to, right? However, if we still believe that they’re the right person, it’s just as much our responsibility to support them to get the best out of them.


What health incentives do you think are important to improve the staff’s overall wellbeing?

JAN: We do active challenges where people can work together outside of the office. On the face of it, you get a HR manager saying it will be fun to get people out of the office to do a marathon or a walk. What they actually report, and this was based on 200 of our past clients that we spoke to, the main thing they got out of it wasn’t that it was ‘fun’ it was that there was better staff retention, increased wellbeing, good PR for the company and they happened to fundraise a bit of money for charity. There are always extended benefits to doing that kind of thing. Whether it is an organised event or a physical challenge, it just needs to take them out of the day-to-day environment to use the mind and body differently. We’ve found for our clients that it’s transformational for so many businesses.

THOMAS: We try to set a framework that provides employees with benefits such as gym memberships, good food, a healthy environment, medical advice, and private health insurance for all employees. That is the framework that we follow.

ANDREW: This isn’t really our area, but I imagine what would work would be analysing what is important to your employees – looking at things that they find challenging in their personal life, whether that be losing weight or giving up smoking, and then having programmes in place that the employer can support. This could even be supported with a financial reward if an individual is able to complete a programme successfully.

SCOTT: I think for me, there’s a dozen of these exhibitions in the UK that you can go to and go down a tick list of things that you can put in place in your organisation that will, in theory, be health incentives to try and drive a greater level of wellbeing. However, I still think the most significant impact and influence on wellbeing is what the culture is in the organisation in the first place. If you can encourage a wellbeing culture as part of your strategy that provides people with the knowledge, experience, and access to all the different things you can buy and integrate, that itself is a start. I think one thing that so many businesses miss out on is that if an employee doesn’t know where to go and get the level of support, whether it be financial wellbeing, emotional wellbeing or physical wellbeing, the chances of them getting the help they need is almost zero!

So as business leaders, and as people who run businesses, it is important to ensure our employees know what we offer and how to access it. Without that knowledge, they simply won’t access it and get the help they need and support they need if they have to do a stage first, which is to go and ask someone how to get access to it. So, for me, it’s a knowledge and education piece that’s the key driver. Other than that, there are a dozen things you can buy off a shelf that will help improve, in theory, the health of your employees. 

More support and information

You can read more about Scott’s thoughts on employee engagement and the key to retaining staff or download Scott’s five-point-plan to drive employee engagement.

If you would like help creating an employee engagement strategy, speak to our business growth experts who will be happy to help. You can also read more about our SMART Employment model or book a demo of our all-in-one solution to help make employers’ and employees’ lives easier, happier and healthier here

Scott Read Growth Partners discusses the link between employee engagement and retention

Scott Read Growth Partners discusses the link between employee engagement and retention

Scott Read is a results-driven business leader with a proven track record in helping employers strategise key business growth through employee engagement.