The vicious link between money worries and mental ill-health is a topic we’re hearing more and more about.
But are UK employers empowering their people to make the most of the benefits in their company rewards package? There’s a secret weapon at their disposal – the line manager is a valuable resource in spreading the message.
Stress, anxiety and depression are now the biggest causes of workplace absenteeism, behind 57% of all time taken off work by employees. And when study after study show a link between poor mental health and financial pressures, we should wherever possible try to ease the pressure that so many people are facing.
Your workplace rewards have many benefits that could help your people. Yet these programmes often go untapped. There are many reasons for this but sometimes it’s just because employees don’t know about their rewards, or don’t understand them.
There are plenty of ways to improve this – and your line managers can play a part. They can help raise awareness about rewards, which can improve the financial resilience of their teams. Good for them, and good for you as your people value your whole offering.
Rewards: a fundamental part of employee wellbeing
Employee share plans and rewards programmes can’t guarantee a way out of mental health problems, but they can be the ideal chance to save and invest money for the long-term.
Dame Carol Black, who advises the government on health and work, and Professor Cary Cooper, one of the world’s leading experts in workplace wellbeing, believe employee rewards should form a fundamental part of any workplace mental resilience strategy.
“Plastering over the cracks isn’t enough – for instance, having a wellbeing day and a few online tools,” says Professor Cooper. “There needs to be action from shopfloor to top-floor.” He praises companies whose senior management actively encourage employees to open up to managers if they’re not feeling okay.
Because line managers are so well-placed to raise awareness and spread positive messages to employees, Dame Carol Black calls their role a “vital but under-recognised” one. If they’re trained to talk to their teams about money, and to explain the potential benefits of rewards in easy, jargon-free language, your people may find that financial topics aren’t quite so complicated – and be more open to getting involved.
If you’re a rewards manager, how can you use the power of your line managers so your message has a greater resonance with those you’re trying to reach?
The right message at the right time in the right way
Line managers are the face of your organisation to the local teams on the ground. They’re easily accessible, so they’ll be the first person employees turn to when they have a question, or a problem.
And they know their team better than anyone. They know the problems people in the team are facing, what their hopes and dreams are, and what communications they best respond to. They can personalise the conversations, creating a bridge between your rewards and your people.
Line managers are particularly valuable where people don’t work online. If everyone has an email address, internet connection and access to the intranet, it’s quite easy to give everyone the same message.
But what if your people are in the factory, on the shop floor or out in the field? Well then, you really need to lean on your line managers, because they’re your troops on the ground.
Once you’ve trained them in communicating rewards, they can:
- Boost awareness among their teams of all your rewards, including share plans, pensions, loans, discount schemes and employee assistance programmes.
- Educate people in financial literacy.
- Encourage people to share their stories of participating in particular plans or benefits schemes.
Line managers should form a key part of your share plan and reward communications. They’re worth training and investing in, so that they can do this part of their job in a way that makes your people want to get involved and actively engage with your rewards.
Here at Eximia, we know the power of the line manager. The second step we take in any share plan communications campaign is to provide training and education for the people who’ll be championing the message: your line managers.
Need advice on motivating your line managers to help spread your share plan and reward communications? Get in touch to see how we can help.