Personal finance is one of the most common stressors that employees face. Financial stress can definitely manifest itself in the workplace and negatively impact employee performance and job satisfaction.
An astounding two-thirds of Americans say they have been living paycheck to paycheck during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of those cited said that they were not financially prepared when the pandemic first emerged, amplifying the financial stress that many were already experiencing. Facing new challenges, more workers look to their employers for financial support beyond their paychecks.
Knowing this, employers should consider establishing a financial wellness program for employees that provides resources and counseling to those who want to keep their financial health in check, especially during these uncertain times. To ensure you’re best supporting employees, consider taking the following steps to create your financial wellness program:
1. Seek Employee Feedback
Regardless of whether you employ recent college graduates, soon-to-be or current parents, or staff members nearing retirement, your employees have unique financial obligations that need to be addressed in different ways.
To gauge the needs and desires of your employees, consider sending out a financial wellness survey. Your survey should include both objective and subjective questions that measure both the financial hardships they may be experiencing as well as their feelings and concerns toward such hardships.
Speaking with team members and taking the steps to understand what they expect in terms of financial support are two ways you can figure out how to best allocate your time and resources when building your employee financial wellness program. It can also boost employee satisfaction as staff members feel more valued and heard. Chances are, your employees also have concerns that they are not willing to address in person. Providing them with an option to submit anonymous feedback is another way to gain insight into their financial situations.
2. Tailor Your Perks
Using the feedback from conversations with employees and your financial wellness survey, you can address the most prevalent concerns with a program that caters to their financial needs. Think about which benefits you’d like to prioritize, and tailor your wellness program accordingly. Some common benefits to address employee financial concerns include:
Budgeting and Saving: Introduce a platform that provides financial education resources and benefits like emergency savings plans, money management tools, or spending trackers.
Credit Card Debt: Provide programming or resources that focus on debt management, consolidation options, and effective strategies for debt repayment.
Student Loan Assistance: Help pay a portion of your employees’ student loan debt balances or provide them with information on how they can lower their payments through loan refinancing.
Emergency Assistance: Allow employees to make withdrawals from their retirement savings or provide employee relief funds to help employees who are actively facing financial hardships.
Home Financing: Invite real estate professionals to lead virtual home buying sessions and provide steps for how to get a mortgage pre-approval to help employees navigate the buying process.
Medical Expenses: Provide a health insurance option that includes a health savings account (HSA), and provide advice for saving on healthcare costs.
Retirement Planning: Offer 401(k) or other retirement savings plans, and provide an employer match up to a certain percentage to help employees reach their retirement goals.
In light of the pandemic, some companies have also introduced additional coverages for situations like unemployment and furloughs, financial planning coaching, identity theft, and sick leave. Benefits like these can help employees establish financial security and maintain productivity, even through challenging times.
As with many financial situations, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for your employees. However, providing the right benefits is a great way to enrich their financial lives and to show you are invested in their unique needs.
3. Introduce an Employee Financial Wellness Platform
Financial wellness platforms like Enrich and PayActiv provide one-stop hubs of financial resources. They are highly customizable and offer a combination of articles, videos, webinars, and learning modules to help employees reach a broad range of financial goals. Whether they are interested in saving for a major purchase, increasing their retirement contributions, or improving their credit score, investing in a comprehensive financial wellness platform could build trust and loyalty between employees and employers, as well as boost overall job satisfaction.
Including one or several financial wellness tools in your employee benefits program will grant your staff with the right tools, training, and resources they need to maintain and improve their financial well-being and increase their financial literacy. If your budget allows, a financial wellness platform is a sensible investment that could have both personal and financial impacts for employees.
4. Consider Your Financial Wellness Program ROI
According to 401k Specialist Magazine, American businesses lose $500 billion annually due to employees’ personal finance stress. Decreased productivity, lower self-confidence, and worsened mental health can take a toll on an employee’s ability to perform their best, which can ultimately hurt a company’s profitability.
The reality is companies simply can’t afford to overlook employee financial wellness. If you’re contemplating whether or not a financial wellness program is worth the investment, look into how much money your company has lost due to finance-related absenteeism and stress. Then, focus on developing financial wellness solutions for the most commonly-cited stressors in your workplace.
To understand your return on investment and the success of your financial wellness program, you can also track metrics such as enrollment in retirement plans, number of hardship withdrawals, financial wellness platform activity, and absenteeism rates.
At the same time, you should monitor soft metrics like emotional health and wellness by scheduling regular meetups with employees or by sending a follow-up wellness survey. If you find certain benefits are underutilized, you can adjust your offerings to maximize the benefits for both the business and your employees.
There are many financial benefits to creating a well-developed wellness program for your employees. For instance, you may experience increased productivity, higher levels of employee engagement and retention, and an improved bottom line. Taking the time to create your company’s program will help ensure you’re best meeting your business objectives while also helping your employees achieve their financial goals.
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