Energy firm E.On has used the government-backed Money Advice Service (MAS) (see interview with Stuart Bailey of MAS) to provide various types of financial education for its workforce for around four years.
Ant Donaldson, senior specialist employee benefits UK, says: “I think it is a great resource. It is very low cost and high impact, and the key thing is people actually use it.”
E.On first used the service to deliver a series of 90-minute seminars – 60 minutes of MAS’s general financial education programme covering pensions, savings, debt, mortgages and insurances, and 30 minutes on E.On’s own benefits package. Over an 18-month period, about 3,000 staff attended the seminars.
Then, in 2010, when the company closed a site at Rayleigh, Essex, it used MAS to help provide seminars on redundancy. “About the same time, we started to make this available to attendees, but also on our intranet we set up a ‘Making the most of your money’ page that links through to its website,” says Donaldson.
The intranet page received 10,000 hits and MAS booklets were distributed to 5,000 of E.On’s employees.
Next, the company used MAS material as part of its occupational health team’s campaign on mental health – a touring ‘head shed’ that visited E.On’s most remote and isolated workers (those most likely to suffer workplace stress). “Across the campaign, which lasted a year, calls to our employee assistance programme on debt issues went down,” says Donaldson.
In December 2011, E.On began offering access to MAS’s online financial health check, which was taken up by 500 staff in the first six weeks. The company has also reconfigured its seminars into 20 to 30-minute ‘bite-sized’ chunks focusing on pensions. “If it goes well, we will do a lot more later in the year around auto-enrolment,” says Donaldson. “About one-third of our people are not in a pension and we are encouraging them to join ahead of auto-enrolment.”
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