From starting a business to moving abroad, the pandemic has presented a once-in-a-generation opportunity for many people to re-evaluate the 9 to 5. While some are making big changes like returning to education or ditching the commute, many simply want to re-balance work in favour of life, so they can pick up the kids from school or rediscover an old hobby.
One in four workers are said to be considering a change of career in 2021. After 18 months of back-to-back Zoom calls, the chance to do something different is undeniably attractive. The Great Resignation, as it has been coined by Professor Klotz of Mays Business School, is a direct response to the physical, mental and financial pressures of the pandemic.
Research suggests that as many as three in five workers have experienced financial concerns or suffered mental health issues since the start of the pandemic. While two in three have felt unsupported by employers in some of these areas.
This presents both an interesting challenge and an opportunity for employers. To recruit and retain the top talent in this environment, companies must rethink employee support and benefits. In short, a new approach will be needed to meet the needs and expectations of workers going into 2022.
Fortunately, a growing number of start-ups have stepped up to the plate in the last 18 months with creative solutions that promise to deliver real gains for businesses by improving employee’s mental and financial wellbeing.
Here are five that we think are worth keeping a close eye on.
Unmind offers a radically different approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. It’s based on the centuries-old idea that prevention is better than cure. Rather than solely focusing on supporting workers who are experiencing mental health issues, Unmind gives all employees the tools to proactively measure and manage their mental wellbeing. The platform offers a range of courses and exercises to help address issues such as anxiety, stress and insomnia.
Juno puts employees in the driving seat. The London-based start-up offers a more individual approach to employee benefits. Rather than employers dictating what benefits staff will receive, Juno empowers workers to pick the benefits that meet their needs best. Staff are given a certain amount of Juno Points and can spend them how they wish. Staff can select from massages and subscriptions, childcare and flowers, or hundreds of other products, services and experiences.
Wagestream provides a neat alternative to payday loans, helping workers reduce financial stress and get out of debt faster. The fast-growing start-up, which counts Brewdog, Bupa and the NHS among its clients, supports employees in two key ways. Firstly, it allows staff to get paid when they want, rather than having to wait until payday. Secondly, it gives workers access to a personal financial coach to offer advice and support with money worries and financial planning. In turn, Wagestream is helping employers to significantly improve recruitment, retention and productivity.
Spill helps employees to share how they are really feeling, without fear of being judged. The app uses Slack to carry out regular check-ins with staff and assigns 1:1 support where it’s most needed. Struggling employees are triaged into therapy, with access to video therapy sessions the next day or a course of therapy with the same therapist each week. Training is also offered for managers to help them support people that report to them and handle emotional situations sensitively.
Salary Finance partners with employers to help staff achieve greater financial wellbeing so they can be happier at work. The company, which is backed by Legal and General and Blenheim Chalcot, offers a wide range of financial products and services, like loans, cash advances, savings accounts and financial education. By helping to ease the stresses of financial pressures such as unexpected bills or credit card debt, Salary Finance helps more employees to plan for retirement.