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How to Be a Company that Cares About the Financial Wellbeing of its Employees

Berna Aksoy
by Berna Aksoy

At Melon, we have published an interim software developer's salary report with Turkey's rapidly changing economic agenda in recent weeks. We aimed to understand and share approaches and solutions within the entrepreneurial ecosystem in this direction. At the Talent Talks event we held, we talked with our guests from more than 20 startups, with Figopara founder Koray Bahar and Endeavor Turkey Secretary Aslı, about employees' wages in this rapidly changing financial situation agenda. 

One of the most active issues recently is wellbeing. However, we talk about mental and physical health most of the time. But one of the essential part of the employee experience we miss is financial wellbeing. So when financial issues move out of the focus of economic crises or wage hikes and are genuinely part of a person's holistic wellbeing, what does it mean? 

Financial wellbeing is a state in which a person is able to fully meet their current and ongoing financial obligations, feel secure in their financial future, and make choices that allow them to enjoy life. 

Recently, we have been going through a period of severe financial difficulties worldwide, especially in Turkey. While the fast and variable living costs have made us tired of short-term plans, long-term plans such as investing, saving, and buying a house have made it beyond challenging. While individuals are trying to spend more cautiously, companies resort to many methods such as interim raises, wage improvements, flexible fringe benefits, or a currency-protected salary for their employees. However, we are aware that these reactive actions are not enough to prevent financial stress. Because, amid all this rapidly increasing inflation and global crisis, we are also faced with one of the most challenging factors to manage: Uncertainty. As Acar Baltaş said, human beings successfully adapt to evolution, but unfortunately, we cannot show the same performance in dealing with uncertainty. Therefore, financial stress continues to remain in our lives. 

So how can we provide this financial wellbeing support for our teams? 

1- Being proactive rather than reactive about wage increases: 

It is a fact that everyone who reads the economy pages now accepts that we are going through an inflationary period all over the world and that this will continue for at least 2 more years. In line with this information, it is vital to monitor the wage and benefits improvements of the employees with planned and regular raise - and mid-term raise plans. Because the reactively applied salary increase will not have as much of a healing effect for your employees who are already financially strained and lost, in the end, the relief from financial stress and anxieties will be more temporary than you might think. Therefore, making a budget, planning, and communicating proactive salary increases and different benefits support policies is critical for a lasting and calming effect. 

2- Increasing facilitating solutions with fringe benefits: 

In this sense, providing services that are met with high budgets for individual purchases such as private health insurance, sports membership, internet budget for people working from home, meal cards, and therapy support packages can be given as an example. Here, you can move forward by presenting your team's needs and the issues on which support will make a difference for them to facilitate personally. You can try many different implementations that offer their teams additional transportation, travel, food expenses, and debt payment plans. 

3- Being able to talk about money: Transparency & Mental Health:

Financially-stressed employees are three times as likely to feel a significant negative impact from money worries. 

If we hope that our teams will sit at the table with the best state of themselves and their potential for the future when they start work every morning, it is essential for them to feel safe and hopeful for the future. The success that a person will reveal today and the investment she will make in her own potential for tomorrow pass through this whole psychological and financial safety net. 

Most companies and leaders are aware; Despite all the hikes and creative improvement solutions, the teams still do not feel completely safe and worried. Because we know that financially-stressed employees are three times as likely to feel a significant negative impact from money worries. So what's the solution to this? Transparency. We are talking about being open on details such as the company's cash flow, profitability, receivables-collection situation, and how many months the current cash ratio can take in case of a severe crisis. Therefore, you should be able to talk to your employees about their wages and your company's financial situation. It should be added that; this desire for a sense of security is one of the biggest reasons for the brain-drain crisis we have been experiencing lately. Those who are gone are sadly and the shape they should be. 

You can do proactive compensation policies, and creative non-cash benefit supports. Still, most importantly, with transparency, it will be possible to bypass this difficult economic situation with minor damage to your teams.