Financial education made simple – M&S’s experience.

The Marks & Spencer Group Plc. headquarters are seen in London, U.K., on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. U.K. commercial property prices climbed at a slower pace in March as a shrinking economy and public spending cuts deterred businesses from leasing space, Investment Property Databank Ltd. said. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Marks and Spencer (M&S) believe that it is important to help their employees to take control of their finances and offers financial education to all of its 70,000 employees to improve their financial wellbeing. This is provided with the help of financial education and guidance specialists, WEALTH at work.

As M&S have employees across different sites, including those based in store, M&S want to ensure that its financial education programme is accessible for all. Therefore, a multi-channel approach is taken which includes providing employees with financial education via microsites, animations, and seminars, to reach the different segments of the employee population.

Joanne Fairbairn, Head of Pensions, M&S comments; “Financial wellbeing is a vital part of our colleague wellbeing programme. We provide a variety of benefits that supports and enables our colleagues’ financial goals. WEALTH at work’s financial education programme helps our colleagues to understand these benefits and other important areas of financial planning – enabling them to take control of their finances and access further support when needed.”

She continues; “So that we can reach all colleagues, a bespoke ‘making your money simple’ financial education microsite has been built to deliver digital financial education content that can be easily digested at the colleagues’ convenience; whether that be at work, at home or on the go. The site uses a variety of tools including webcasts and animations to provide financial education on a range of financial topics such as borrowing, saving and budgeting. These topics, which include monthly hints and tips, are launched over time, keeping the site fresh, relevant and up-to-date.”

Fairbairn comments; “Since launching in 2018, we have been very impressed with the popularity of the microsite and over the last 12 months have received over 14,300 visits and over 35,000 page views. We look forward to the continued success of the site as new financial topics are launched.”

She adds; “The programme has also included delivering face-to-face seminars to specifically help employees understand and address the pension limits for the Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance. These have been well attended and received very positive feedback from employees.”

A feedback form was used after each seminar which found that 75% of attendees had requested further guidance or advice following the seminars.

Fairbairn comments; “The seminars have enabled us to support our colleagues in improving their financial and tax positions and awareness of the pension limits have been greatly increased.

Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, WEALTH at work, comments; “It’s great to see M&S taking such positive steps to improve the financial wellbeing of their employees and that the programme is such a success.”

He continues; “After all, the impact of poor financial wellbeing can be especially devastating on employees and have a direct impact in the workplace.  A big part of the solution is to provide employees with the knowledge to make informed financial decisions throughout their career, and the most successful way to do is through the provision of financial education, guidance and regulated financial advice.”

Watts-Lay adds; “We are seeing that more and more employers are now recognising the importance of this. In fact, our recent poll of employers found that 90% thought that it’s becoming increasingly important to have a financial wellbeing strategy in the workplace.”

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