Addressing Financial Wellness in the Workplace Before It’s Too Late

Balancing happiness and finances
XpertHR, 26th August 2020
Jessica Webb-Ayer

Although financial wellness benefits have been rising in popularity for the last several years, the demand for them has grown exponentially due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting recession. Such benefits can be a vital resource for employees during this stressful and unprecedented time.

According to a recent survey by SoFi, financial issues are a big concern for employees right now, with survey respondents listing their top three sources of emotional stress as paying for an unexpected hardship (45%), saving for major life milestones (45%) and saving for retirement (30%). When asked about financial wellness benefits, 53 percent of those surveyed said they would feel less stressed about their overall financial situation if their employer offered financial wellness benefits.

Additionally, the survey revealed something else that could help an employer’s bottom line. For instance, respondents said if their employers offered such benefits:

  • 48% would be more committed to staying with their employer for a longer period of time;
  • 37% would be more likely to recommend their employer to other friends; and
  • 30% felt like they would have better productivity at work.

Since employees are increasingly looking to their employers for financial help and guidance, it’s important to consider the best way to address financial wellness in the workplace. Below are steps you can take to establish a program designed to best help your employees.

1. Understand Why Financial Wellness is Important

Financial stress can have a huge impact on an employee’s emotional, physical and mental well-being. Many employees worry about their finances and consider financial issues to be a big source of stress. Such stress can lead to increased absenteeism, lower productivity, being distracted at work and even negative effects on employee health.

Offering programs designed to help employees with their finances can have a significant effect on their lives, both in and out of the workplace.

2. Research the Types of Available Financial Wellness Benefits

There are a wide range of financial wellness benefits available, and it’s important to research the options to determine what works best for your organization and workforce.

  • Benefits that promote employee financial wellness may include:
  • Financial education, counseling and/or training;
  • Retirement planning;
  • Debt counseling;
  • Budget management tools and assistance;
  • Student loan assistance;
  • Identity theft benefits;
  • College savings programs;
  • Emergency savings account options;
  • Flexible pay options; or
  • Lifestyle spending accounts.
3. Decide on a Financial Wellness Strategy

Review your organization’s current benefit offerings to determine how your existing employee benefits program aligns with available financial wellness benefits offerings. Then you can determine what, if any, financial wellness benefits you already offer and what benefits you want to expand, integrate or add to your current benefits programs.

4. Address Workplace Diversity

One key to designing a successful financial wellness program in the workplace is addressing workplace diversity. Generational diversity in the workplace is at a high level with five generations working alongside each other at some organizations across the country. This means an organization’s workforce may have a very broad range of financial wellness needs to consider.

5. Communicate Financial Wellness Offerings to Employees

Once financial wellness benefits are in place, communicate these offerings to your employees. Effective employer communication is key to helping employees figure out how financial wellness benefits can help and enabling them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

In doing so, emphasize the benefits you offer and make sure employees know about:

  • The benefits that are available to them;
  • The details of how the offerings work; and
  • How to obtain additional information and guidance.
6. Continue to Evaluate and Reassess Financial Wellness Offerings

Financial wellness benefits should be designed to meet both employee and employer needs. However, since such needs can change over time, evaluate and reassess your offerings on at least an annual basis to make sure they match your organization’s evolving needs and strategies. This may involve assessing factors such as:

  • Cost-effectiveness;
  • Maintaining internal equity and external competitiveness; and
  • The effect on recruiting, retaining and motivating employees.

For more information and details on creating a financial wellness program in your workplace, download XpertHR’s whitepaper on 6 Steps to Establishing and Addressing Financial Wellness.