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Workplace Wellness: Financial Health Matters Too

(posted: March 3rd, 2019)

Employee financial wellness programs

Cultivating a culture of wellness has become popular among employers across the country over the last few years.

According to the Employer Health Benefits 2018 Annual Survey, 82% of large firms and 53% of small firms offer some sort of wellness program. Typically, these programs focus on physical well-being, with employers creating programs to help employees quit smoking and start exercising. Unfortunately, health-conscious employers and employees alike often overlook one important component to wellness: financial health.

Americans Struggle to Save

A recent Bankrate survey revealed that 65% of Americans save little or nothing at all from each paycheck. This, along with the fact that over 40% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for when they retire, is alarming.

Is Financial Health Really the Employer's Responsibility?

It should be! Keep in mind that when employees are stressed about money and saving for long-term goals, the chronic stress can be detrimental to their overall health and workplace engagement. According to the American Psychological Institution, 62% of Americans are stressed about money; 64% of Millennials are. This in turn adds $300 billion to employers' annual costs due to health issues and missed work. Investing in employee financial wellness can be beneficial to both you and your employees!

What Does a Financial Wellness Program Look Like?

As an employer, you may consider implementing a financial wellness program that focuses on planning for the future and budgeting, which can help employees understand the process and find ways to save that work for them. Training topics could include debt reduction, asset management and saving for current and future needs like purchasing a home, financing their children's education or preparing for retirement. Common services provided in workplace financial wellness programs often include:

  • financial counseling and coaching services
  • debt management services
  • savings products and services
  • short-term loans and accrued wage advances
  • online financial management tools
  • financial education classes and seminars

You may already have benefits providers in place who can help you design your financial wellness program, but don't forget that it needs to meet the needs of your employees; one-size-fits-all programs are doomed to failure. Take the time to do a needs assessment, get buy-in from leaders, and identify program champions who can encourage participation.

The Bottom Line on Workplace Financial Wellness

Helping your employees to minimize stress and stay healthy can go a long way towards retaining them. Financial wellness programs drive engagement, productivity and success, and engender increased loyalty and connection. A thoughtfully designed financial wellness program is good for both employer and employee.

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