Companies are increasingly realising that investing in the wellbeing of their staff is not just a good and right thing to do but that it can also have positive returns for businesses. Wellbeing typically covers three main aspects: physical, mental and financial. We wrote about this previously; you can read more here about how these three are interrelated in terms of a person’s wellbeing.
There is growing evidence that companies that provide wellbeing including financial education and access to independent advice and support, experience lower absenteeism, higher productivity (45% higher according to an EY report) and commitment, improved efficiency and up to 56% lower staff turnover (EY again). That’s a long list of benefits for businesses, but employees are also better off. Reduced stress, feeling more in control and overall better quality of life are just some of the benefits found.
The need for this support, to expatriate and international staff is equally, if not more important, as they are living outside their home country adapting to a different environment. An investigation by PwC demonstrated that up to 48% of staff can find financial management a distraction from their regular work, with 35% reporting it was impacting their health and 32% their relationships. Reducing this stress for staff through financial wellness programmes can have a major impact on their lives.
Financial wellbeing programmes can be provided at three critical points of time. We call this your AIM plan:
Arrival, when someone has just moved to a new country;
Integration, when they are settled in; and
Moving on, when they are about to relocate again.
We discuss here how companies can help their international staff at each of these stages and create a happier, more successful and better supported team.
Arrival: there is not only a lot of newly arrived international people settling in after the summer, there is an increase in companies setting up in Europe- Netherlands, France, Germany in particular- who are moving staff from other countries to their new location.
When someone lands in a new country as well as the focus on starting work in a new environment, they have to deal with all manner of new things from housing, schools, local councils, taxes, insurances, pensions, and adapting to their new lifestyle managing a change in household cash flow.
One of the most important and valuable actions a newly arrived international can take is to meet with an independent financial adviser like Black Swan Capital who can guide them through the complexities of their new home. It can take a large pressure of new staff by providing that in the workplace.
Integration: when you are settled into your new home, after six months or more and the new way of life begins to feel normal, that is the time to take a fresh look at your budgeting and finances. It’s a good time to make sure the new pension is set up properly and that any old pensions from other countries are appropriately structured and manged. It is also when many expats and internationals start thinking about their long-term plans and goals, how they are tracking whether they might adjust them. It’s a good time for action and a great value add to provide educational programmes for international staff on how to manage their finances in their new home.
An expat or international professional can benefit substantially from strategically planning their future with an independent professional at this time.
Moving on: Life has become normal again, then the shock, adrenaline and excitement returns as you plan to relocate to your next new home or back to your home country. At this time much of your focus is on your new home and what you will need to do there. But don’t forget, there will be a lot of tidying up in your current country before you move. You will need to check the portability of any investments or pensions to see if you can move them with you, or whether you should, and any tax implications of doing so. If you have managed your investments with an independent financial professional, these contingencies should have been considered in advance and you will probably be able to move forward quite efficiently. It is always wise to check and spend some time to ensure you are well prepared, make sure you invest the time to do so.
We work with companies to provide education, support and tailored financial guidance to their international staff. We can do this in a one on one format with employees and management as well as by delivering group educational presentations to their employees on useful topics from pensions, cash flow management & budgeting, investment fundamentals and medium and long term life planning. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help your organisation and your international staff.