“Financial Wellness” is getting a lot of buzz these days — and for good reason! After all, today’s workforce is overwhelmed by mounting student debt and other rising expenses.
Financial wellness refers to a person’s overall financial health and is one of many factors that makes up employee wellbeing. We often think of wellbeing as related to physical and mental health, but financial stress impacts a person’s health as well. When employees are stressed about their financial situation it effects their productivity, attendance and engagement in the workplace.
Organizations are continually looking for ways to stay competitive and have an advantage in attracting and retaining qualified employees. With the current economic conditions, people are looking for jobs that offer more than just paid time off and health insurance. Therefore, many businesses have turned their focus to employee financial wellness programs to add value to their compensation packages. More than 51% of organizations offer financial wellness initiatives and 29% of companies are interested in launching financial wellness programs. Offered as a voluntary benefit, financial wellness programs send employees a valuable message, letting them know their company cares about them and is ready to extend a helping hand to those in need.
The goal of implementing a financial wellness program is to support and improve the financial health of employees by providing tools and resources to help them manage their current finances, protect against unforeseen financial hardships, and plan for a financially secure future.
Let’s take a look at some of the financial wellness solutions available:
- Educational Programs – An education-focused program that equips employees with the information they need to plan for emergencies using current employer benefits. Financial guidance sessions and financial education workshops are available via live chat that teach employees about budgeting, credit scores, retirement savings and savings accounts.
- Employer Matching Programs – A matching program involves an employer matching a certain percentage of contributions that employees make to their 401k, student loan repayment or a 529 (college savings) fund.
- Financial Assistance Programs – These programs focus on alternative stressors employees might not have considered as a factor in their financial health. These include medical bill zero-interest financing, medical bill negotiation, relocation assistance and stock options.
- Insurance Options – Employers can consider including alternative insurance programs such as long-term care insurance, pet insurance, adoption and fertility insurance, accident insurance, critical illness insurance, and life and disability insurance.
Over the past year, employee financial distress has intensified, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to bring financial education into your workplace. It won’t be easy. Reducing financial stress and improving financial health for your employees takes a comprehensive plan, but it will be worth the investment. Your commitment to prioritizing financial health will help improve the lives of your employees. Financially healthy employees are healthier and happier; they are better for the company’s bottom line.