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Measuring financial wellbeing: retention as a metric

There are two main ways to measure financial wellbeing at work: asking staff directly via a financial wellbeing at work survey and using related metrics that serve as a proxy to financial wellbeing. Retention is a proxy measure and a strong one to consider as it’s likely you’ll already be measuring retention and have historical data.

Why is retention a good proxy for financial wellbeing?

Half of millennials have left jobs for mental health reasons and there’s a strong link between financial stress and poor mental health. As such, it’s likely that poor financial wellbeing can increase the chance of an employee leaving their position, either due to an acute inability to cope or to seek an employer/job that they think will reduce financial stress and result in better mental health.

Wagestream’s own survey of 2,500 of our users found that 82% felt more positive about their employer as a result of being offered WS – in-so-much as turnover is a reflection of how an employee feels towards their employer, this suggests that not only do employees want help with their financial wellbeing but that employers that implement financial wellbeing solutions that actually work will see retention benefits.

Willis Towers Watson also found that 75% of employees would stay with their current employer for better benefits. What counts as a ‘better benefit’ is of course subjective, but as employees increasingly look preferentially for holistic wellbeing benefits organisations that prioritise all wellbeing pillars should see ROI when it comes to retention.

How can we measure retention?

Most organisations already have established ways of measuring retention and tracking progress over time. In this case it’s just about slicing and dicing it in new ways so you can start making inferences with regard financial wellbeing.

Retention data should be paired with other core proxy metrics for financial wellbeing such as absenteeism and pension contributions. If you find higher than baseline absenteeism and lower than baseline pension contributions paired with reduced retention, these factors together may point to reduced financial wellbeing.

This should be done at the organisational level, but it’s also important to do at the cohort/demographic level. This is not only good for diversity and inclusion generally but allows you to check for specific financial wellbeing vulnerabilities in sub-groups that may be raising turnover in these sub-groups.

The final step in the puzzle is to pair these proxy measurements with a financial wellbeing survey so you can layer direct self-reported feedback over your data. Overall, this should give a good indication of the overall financial health of your organisation and give you the start of an action plan to drive better financial wellbeing.