Financial Wellness in the Workplace
42 million American struggle with all or nearly all aspects of their financial lives. In many cases, your employees are among that group of financial worriers.
In fact, many people are living paycheck-to-paycheck and most cannot afford an emergency expense. This has prompted many employers to examine how they can promote financial wellness in the workplace. You’re already providing employees paychecks and benefits – what else can you do? And why is it important that you act?
In addition to soft benefits like flexible working schedules and employee referral bonuses, financial wellness programs are on the rise. Here’s how you can use your benefits administration software and other resources to improve financial health throughout the workplace.
How Financial Wellness Impacts Employees Employers
From student loans, credit card debt, home mortgages and car payments, the amount of expenses one has are limitless. Even those with less debt are often living paycheck-to-paycheck. That said, an individual’s financial state has a direct impact on their mental state – and financial pressures could manifest into stress – which, ultimately, impacts attitude and even work performance.
Another reason employers are advocating for financial wellness is employee retention. When employees are struggling financially, it can distract from their focus on the job, day-to-day. Plus, they are more likely to seek other job opportunities when compensation is a worry. However, the likelihood of keeping employees with the company increases when employers take a vested interest in the staff’s financial wellness.
How to Promote Financial Wellness in the Workplace
Offering financial wellness options is a way for employers to calm employee anxiety and allow them to focus wholly on thriving in their respective roles. One way to do this is by creating an Employee Financial Wellness Program.
While there's no official rule book for creating an Employee Financial Wellness Program, there's a slew of things employers can do to address financial challenges that traditional health and retirement benefits don't. For example financial training, savings programs, money management tools, 401(k) education, student loan support, split or matched direct deposits and more.
Here's a couple more tips to get started:
Education is King
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – ensuring your employees are educated about their benefits offerings is key to helping them choose a plan that is appropriate for their unique lifestyle. Your benefits administration partner can assist by offering ongoing benefits education for employees. And while chatbots and underlying AI technology are great - employees still want a human touch. The benefitexpress Customer Care Center fields employee calls everyday to offer one-on-one human assistance that truly makes a difference.
Do Some Digging
When it comes to developing a financial wellness program, don't gamble on your next move. Instead, figure out what your employees' financial struggles are. This not only saves time and resources but enables your organization to come up with options that employees really need. Consider conducting an employee focus group or creating an anonymous survey to help guide the strategy.
Why Support Financial Wellness in the Workplace? Consider these 2018 stats:
- Only 28% of Americans are “financially healthy”
- 45% of Americans do not have enough savings to cover three months of living expenses
- One-third of Americans say they have more debt than is manageable
- More than 36% of Americans are unable to pay their bills on time
- 47% of Americans' spending equaled or exceeded income in the past 12 months
- 42% of Americans say they have no retirement savings at all
Finances are personal – and employees aren’t lining up to share their money woes with management. And like any other private matter, just because you cannot see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. That is why more and more employers are promoting financial wellness at work via programs, tools and initiatives for employees to use at their discretion.
Whether it be paying off debt, welcoming a new family member or prepping for retirement, employees want all the resources they can get to help them plan for the future. Employers who offer that will have the upper hand in both employee retention and recruiting top talent.
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