Accessibility and Inclusivity: The key to an effective financial wellbeing strategy for NHS bank staff
With energy bills sharply rising, food costs continuing to soar, and inflation hitting 10.5%, it’s no surprise that many are finding themselves under significant financial pressure – not least those that work within the NHS.
Helplines for NHS bank staff have reported financial worries are consistently among the top 5 reasons people call in for support, and it’s not uncommon for financial stress to impact their working lives too; almost a third of adults find it difficult to perform their day-to-day tasks due to concerns around their financial situation.
In view of this, you may be looking for ways you can support your staff through these difficult times, including through creating or expanding your financial wellbeing strategy. In this blog, we explore the importance of developing your strategy with accessibility and inclusivity in mind, to ensure all your staff really benefit from the support you provide.
What is accessibility and inclusivity?
Before we begin, let’s define what we mean by an accessible and inclusive financial wellbeing strategy.
Accessibility and inclusivity are both words that come up frequently, but not everyone has the same understanding of what they mean, which can make building the foundation of your financial wellbeing strategy around them difficult.
For our intents and purposes, accessibility involves removing any unnecessary barriers which could prevent someone from being able to benefit from the financial wellbeing support you provide. For example, if your financial wellbeing strategy is reliant on your staff having smartphones, it’s not accessible to those without one – approximately 10% of the UK population.
An inclusive approach is one that gives equal access and opportunities to everyone, regardless of their personal circumstances. For example, if you offer working from home at your organisation, but only offer fixed, on-site childcare options, your WFH staff can’t reap the same benefits that your on-site staff can.
The best financial wellbeing policies take both of these concepts into account, and it is these policies that have the greatest impact on staff retention, productivity, and satisfaction.
What are the benefits of an accessible and inclusive financial wellbeing strategy for NHS bank staff?
At both a worker and organisational level, a well-considered wellbeing strategy can have a whole host of benefits.
In a number of our partner NHS Trusts, we work alongside Wagestream, a company helping organisations empower their staff with a variety of financial wellbeing tools – including the ability to access their pay as they earn it.
These tools help staff regain control and visibility over their finances, and from Wagestream’s work with thousands of employees across the healthcare and wider public sector, their solution has produced proven benefits, including:
- 53% of staff no longer felt distracted by finances at work
- 82% of staff felt more positively about their employer
- Wagestream users worked on average 8.7 hours of bank shifts, compared to 3.6 for non-enrolled staff
Accessibility and inclusivity is a key part of this, especially when it comes to locum work. NHS bank staff often report being put off from picking up locum shifts altogether due to the hassle of chasing timesheet approvers for signatures, uncertainty around payment, time-consuming paperwork, and all the frustrations that come with this. Technology that reduces this friction, then, can play a very important role in financial wellbeing at your organisation, empowering your clinicians rather than inconveniencing them.
A strong financial wellbeing strategy can therefore contribute not only to staff retention, but can also produce significant cost savings; when staff book more bank shifts, the need for expensive agencies is eased.
What does financial wellbeing look like in practice?
Our partnership with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Trust NHS Foundation Trust supports NHS bank staff with efficient payments and full visibility over their pay.
The Trust had previously relied on outdated methods of communication with locum clinicians to fill empty shifts, including cold calling and mass emails. This often resulted in shifts being filled at the last minute, at escalated pay rates or outsourced to more costly agencies. Additionally, paper timesheets, payments and data sourcing were managed manually, creating a huge admin burden for temporary staffing teams, and often delaying payments for bank staff.
Patchwork’s staff bank solution streamlined and automated many of these previously time-consuming processes. Clinicians could now browse and book shifts from their mobile or desktop, as well as see at a glance what they’d worked and what they’d been paid. The payroll process was also simplified and digitised for temporary staffing teams, meaning staff were paid sooner and with less back and forth.
Implementing Wagestream at the Trust further enhanced these benefits. Staff were able to access their pay as they earned it, and the team saw bank shift fill rates rise from 78% to 83% following the implementation.
To summarise, it’s important to take accessibility and inclusivity into consideration when building your financial wellbeing strategy. Doing so will ensure the support you provide is available to as many staff as possible, and therefore have the greatest impact on retention and overall satisfaction.