When Virgin Money introduced its new employment package, A Life More Virgin, in early 2022, financial wellbeing was one important piece in the jigsaw.
Post-pandemic, flexibility and choice are key themes which run through the employee experience at Virgin Money. Accordingly, the bank wanted each of its 7,500 employees to find something that spoke to them in the new package.
First, the bank sought to better signpost the tools it already had. It created a single portal for, to name a few, its employee assistance programme and discounts on other businesses in the Virgin group, such as Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Media, explains Alison Kidd, head of reward and employee relations at Virgin Money.
The bank also introduced some additional support. Employees can now access a series of My Money webinars. Run by an external firm, these cover subjects like debt management and budgeting and are marketed on the employer’s intranet. Mindful of the sensitivity of money matters, Kidd says: “We don’t know who joins. We know how many people join because the advisor tells us, but we don’t know anything more than that.”
People can also access a tool called Virgin Money Minded, which is designed to help them to answer some of the most common money questions they might have. “Some [employees], if they are not so good at managing their money, feel embarrassed and a bit ashamed of that,” explains Kidd. “They feel that because they work for a bank, they should know the answers. So Virgin Money Minded is there to help with common money questions: for example, what is the difference between a credit card and buy now pay later? How do you calculate APR on a credit card? Things that people probably feel like they ‘should’ know, but they don’t.”
While financial education and management tools are helpful in the cost-of-living crisis, sometimes, nothing beats cold, hard cash. Kidd and her colleagues are very aware of this fact. Accordingly, at the start of 2022, Virgin Money’s average pay rise was 5%
The organisation has also made a one-off payment of £1,000 to support its people with the cost of living crisis. “We continue to monitor the situation very closely,” adds Kidd.