Difficult economic conditions are prompting many employers to change their approach to financial wellbeing to support their people through tough times. While increasing pay may be the most direct choice of options, it might not always be possible when budgets are tight, nor, on its own, may it be enough. Instead, organisations are redefining their benefits packages to help employees in new, innovative ways. 

Organisation: West London NHS Trust 

Industry: Mental health, community and social care.  

Size: 4,175 employees, including 287 staff in facilities and estates, jobs include porters, cleaners, electricians, cooks, etc  

Interviewee: Alison Webster, Deputy Director of Organisational Development 

To investigate and understand what impact inflation was having on its staff, West London NHS Trust, one of the UK’s most diverse providers of mental health, community, and social care, conducted a short financial wellbeing survey in May 2022. The aims of the research were to identify:  

  • If there was a problem  
  • where the problem was  
  • what solutions would make the biggest difference. 

The Trust developed a five-staged approach (see figure) based on the results, which has started a conversation about, and raised awareness of, financial wellbeing, and has also led to a range of wellbeing help options being developed. The support includes an interactive financial wellbeing booklet, budget management workshops, as well as targeted assistance, such as improving nurse apprentice pay rates, offering backup and respite care for workers with elder care commitments.  

One surprising initiative that was led by results from their employee survey was providing a free breakfast to their estates and facilities staff. Giving staff free food has attracted media coverage from large employers such as John Lewis and Sainsburys, to small firms such as IVC Brunel Healthcare.  

To find out more about their approach, the importance of data and evidence and the free breakfast initiative, we spoke to Alison Webster, Deputy Director of Organisational Development at the West London NHS Trust. 

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