The 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 53% of employees are stressed about their financial situation, and only 45% say they would be able to meet their basic expenses if they were unemployed for an extended time. Their financial concerns affect everything from their health to their relationships to their productivity at work.
That is a big concern to you as an employer.
A distracted, worried employee may become an unhappy or unhealthy employee, which comes with enormous cost to your company. Not only that, but if the employee is constantly concerned about money, she may be putting that ahead of her job--and your vision for the future of the company. If another job came along that offered more money, she may be more likely to take it to help ease some of those financial concerns.
Taking these financial concerns into consideration, you might be wondering if you should offer financial wellness benefits to your employees.
What Are Financial Wellness Benefits?
Many people simply don't know how to manage their money, or what their options are for investing and saving for their futures. Financial wellness might include workshops on budgeting, managing debt, or preparing for retirement.Here are a few examples of financial wellness benefits you could offer your employees:
- Confidential Financial Assessment
- Retirement Planning
- Healthcare Cost Planning
- Tracking Tools to Meet Financial Goals
- Investment Planning
- Customized Financial Education
- Saving for College
- Paying Off Debt
- Daily Budgeting
- Financial Wellness Guest Speakers or Conferences
The Growing Popularity of Financial Wellness Benefits
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggested that 2017 was the year of financial wellness benefits (although USA Today noticed the trend back in 2014), noting that such programs can reduce employee stress and increase productivity. While retirement has long been a part of traditional benefits programs, today's focus on financial wellness includes student loan management, security, and more.
Still, companies that offer a particular benefit are not the majority: SHRM's 2016 Employee Benefits survey indicated that 27% of companies offer one-on-one financial advice while 22% offer a classroom learning opportunity. The PwC survey says 40% of employees work for a company that offers some type of financial advice service. There's plenty of room for growth--and space for you to differentiate your company as one who is concerned about the financial wellness of its employees.
Good for Employees, Good for Your Company
The PwC survey showed that financial wellness means different things to different people: for some, it's about not being in debt or having to worry about unexpected expenses; for others, it's about being able to enjoy life and retire when they want to.
As an employer, you're in a position to help them experience that wellness, no matter what it means to them. It's a nice thing to do, but it's more than that: it can improve your bottom line.
The Financial Wellness at Work Report points out that financial stress is, of course, stress, and stress can lead to health problems. That could mean missed days at work, decreased retention, and higher health care costs.
Financial wellness benefits can also increase employee engagement and loyalty. Everyone wants to feel they are appreciated and their work matters. When they feel cared for by the company, they're more likely to stay in the position--a great thing when you know the cost of turnover. These types of benefits are one more way a company can say, "We care about you, not just about what you do in the office. We want you to live well. Let us help."
More good news: these programs are affordable for you as the employer. There are many ways to implement these types of benefits, from in-person and online classes to gamified programs that encourage employees to keep learning for the gratification of earning points or badges and mastering "levels."
Given the financial worries weighing on the minds of the majority of employees, it's not a question of whether or not you should offer financial benefits--it's a matter of deciding which ones to offer.