MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

Case Study: Global Employer EXL Service Benefits From Investing in Financial Wellbeing

EXL Service is a company that provides business process outsourcing services to global corporations. Headquartered in New York, EXL has more than 32,500+ professionals in locations throughout the world.

Morrinson Wealth Wellbeing (MWW) work with organisations across the UK to provide bespoke financial education programmes to their employees, to enhance and build on their wellbeing strategy. Challenging the status quo, we help organisations think differently about their current financial wellbeing offering and the impact financial worries have on their business.

Back in 2018, EXL first engaged with MWW following a positive referral from a previous client.

This engagement was somewhat prompted by employee wellbeing being a key issue for EXL. They wanted to promote growth and operational capability by providing support for employees, retain talent and make their workplace more productive.

Research has consistently shown workplace wellbeing programmes play a pivotal role in business productivity and growth, through improvements to physical health, financial and mental wellbeing. According to the CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at Work 2019 Survey Report, the most common outcomes for organisations that proactively support health and wellbeing are better employee morale and engagement, a healthier and more inclusive culture and lower sickness absence.

From extensive discussions with the EXL HR Director, the following objectives were outlined:

  • Enhance existing Financial Education wellbeing offering and promote current benefits
  • Increase awareness of good financial planning
  • Provide more specialised knowledge tailored to various demographic groups
  • Empower employees to more informed financial decisions, with an increased focus on pensions
  • Support employees through Covid_19 with their finances, by building resilience

EXL has a diverse workforce with wide range of backgrounds and experience, employee earnings are broadly between the higher and additional rate tax bands – There are c.250 UK based staff, with a wide group of nationalities included. Average age range is between 30-40yrs.

The challenges were broadly outlined as follows:

  • Low awareness of existing financial wellbeing support/benefits
  • Proportion of employee population not in the pension scheme – partially due to contract nature of employment contracts (concern that they are not saving for retirement)
  • Proportion of female population not in the pension scheme
  • Low home ownership

The solution

Over the course of the following two years to date, MWW have provided several seminars in conjunction with EXL. Feedback was collected from the employee population throughout this time, to inform the planning process and build the ultimate solution/programme. This extended timeline, allows for continuous change and improvement, and ensures education has been embedded into the EXL employee culture. Sessions were delivered at suitable points in the year (such as tax year-end) to also ensure relevancy and engagement.

Session outlines below:

  • Session 1: The importance of financial planning
    • Delivered face to face, this session provided the wider employee population with information regarding overseas tax treatment, financial planning insights, detail on current benefits and explanation about QROPS (to highlight the ability to transfer UK pensions overseas) for their expat workforce.
  • Session 2: Tapering and tax relief
    • Delivered face to face, this session provided the wider higher-earning population with guidance around tapering and tax relief. It included tips and hints on how best to make investments work hard whilst also not falling foul of tax restrictions.
  • Session 3: Financial Resilience – Basics of financial planning (Covid_19 support centric)
    • Delivered via webinar, this session provided the wider employee population with financial guidance through Covid_19. Covering the importance of financial planning/reviews, discussion on market volatility and protection insurance.

Throughout the delivery, employees were provided with support materials and articles, to garner interest and cement learning.

In addition, confidential 1:1 consultations with qualified financial consultants were offered, to provide bespoke guidance to employees based on their individual financial circumstances, goals, and objectives.

Employee Feedback:

  • “Following the seminar, I felt ‘inspired’ by the experience to review my own circumstances”.
  • “The session has motivated me to spend more time looking at my finances and financial planning requirements”.
  • 100% of employees felt that the seminars met their expectations
  • 100% of employees that they were better equipped to manage their finances as a result of the seminars
  • 100% of employees would be interested in attending other sessions in the future

The impact of the EXL programme can be measured as follows:

  • Employees positively embraced the seminars, with high attendance and commitment.
  • A significant number of employees have taken up the opportunity to have personal financial review, highlighting financial empowerment and awareness.
  • Greater uptake of wider benefits offering – More employees leveraging its value.
  • Significant increase in engagement with pension benefits – With a 50% increase in employees contributing to the maximum matched arrangement.

The success is the commitment to improve financial wellbeing. Sustained and evidence-based improvements to wellbeing programmes create a less stressed working environment where employees will be happier and more productive.

Looking forward, EXL will continue the positive relationship built with MWW to ensure employee financial wellbeing remains high on their wellbeing agenda, and sustained culture change is achieved.

“The key to our positive experience with MWW is the level of collaboration, they are very easy to work with and met all our objectives in engaging their service. We would not hesitate to recommend them”. – EXL HR Director.

About the author

Hannah–Rebecca Findlay has an extensive background working within the financial services industry. Having spent over 3 ½ years working in private wealth management, she is adept at helping people manage their finances. Currently Operations Manager for Morrinson Wealth Wellbeing, Hannah is passionate about financial education and empowering people; through assisting organisations to increase the financial wellness of their employees (and in turn improve their bottom line).