This article was updated February 2021
Employer-sponsored financial wellness programs have been a trend over the last few years as 57% of employers offered investment or retirement advice as a benefit to staff in 2019* (up from 49% in 2017). As money and stress are often correlated, many employers are starting to realize the short- and long-term impacts of one's financial well-being and productivity.
With the ongoing uncertainty in today's job market and the financial shock from the past year's events, financial concerns have been an overwhelming source of employee stress. It is no wonder that in 2020, 62% of employers felt exceptionally responsible for their employee's financial wellness^. Educating an individual or offering more robust financial and investment guidance can be more meaningful than ever. The range of topics being addressed by a mature workplace financial wellness program can include items such as:
• Retirement preparedness;
• Planning for health care;
• Budgeting (based on monthly income or for large purchases);
• Debt management.
Subpar financial outcomes based on a lack of knowledge and resources can lead to physical and emotional stress manifesting in lower workplace productivity. To help address this, employers who make strides to build employee confidence in financial literacy tend to reap any benefits by way of higher engagement and retention rates.
In conjunction, elevating employee satisfaction can improve the employer brand by allowing employees to better comprehend their total rewards. While understanding and achieving financial wellness is a personal journey and an evolving workplace area, below are some helpful tips and action steps that employers can take when looking to integrate financial wellness as a resource for their organization:
• Define what financial wellness means for your organization.
• How does this align with your company's culture and values?
• Do you want to focus on a single area or a big picture? Short- or long-term?
Review current resources and offerings.
• Assess your company's existing needs.
• What resources and programs are already in place? Have they been communicated properly and understood by staff?
Align your goals and wellness tools with the culture of your organization. A few questions to ask:
• Do you want in-person training? A centralized resource database? Bi-weekly webinars? A stipend to be utilized at the discretion of each employee?
• Collaborate with your employees to understand what they need and are interested in, and keep this an ongoing discussion.
While a financial wellness program has historically been an underutilized and underappreciated benefit, the ever-shifting responsibility in the role of an employer warrants a renewed conversation. Starting with the steps above, employers can be proactive in helping individuals become better equipped to make optimal financial decisions – leading to improved stability, productivity, and business acumen in every aspect of their life.
Please reach out to a Kiwi Partners HR Advisor if your organization would like support in setting up your employee benefits.