Financial wellness programs in the workplace benefit both employers and employees. In today’s workforce, over 70% of employees are living paycheck to paycheck. While this might seem like a new problem, it’s been a growing concern for corporate America over the last decade.
Studies have found that financial stress can cause workplace issues like reduced employee productivity and engagement. More corporations are starting to promote economic well-being to their employees to help counteract this problem. Financial wellness programs not only benefit their staff, but can also help with issues like absenteeism, turnover and profitability.
You can start promoting financial wellness today by following four simple steps:
1. Learn About Your Employees’ Financial Lives.
Before you set out to fix your staff’s financial problems, you should take the time to learn what is causing them. Are your employees struggling with debt or saving for the future? Are they planning to purchase a home or return to school? To save time and money, consider creating a focus group or a financial well-being survey to learn more about their financial lives.
Even though discussing money is taboo, especially in the workplace, it’s essential to create an environment of openness. To promote this attitude, ensure that all employees’ answers or questions are anonymous and private. If you use a focus group, make sure you are using employees with broad enough backgrounds and lifestyles. A diverse group can ensure a more accurate view of your employees’ economic landscape.
2. Create a Company-Wide Definition of Financial Wellness.
The term ‘financial wellness’ is broad and can encompass many ideas. Financial wellness can include concepts such as living within one’s means, being prepared for financial emergencies, making smart money decisions, or planning for the future. Using the results of your survey or focus group, determine where you’d like to direct your attention. To help pinpoint your end goal, your company should focus on a definition based on your chosen course. This not only creates a clear outline of your objective but can help employees understand the true importance of what you are trying to accomplish. Employers looking to promote financial wellness within the workplace should consider engaging a workplace well-being expert to incorporate a financial wellness program into your overall employee development plans.
3. Establish the Use of Financial Tools.
Many things can cause personal financial problems. Your employees might just be suffering from the lack of access to financial tools. Young professionals who are new to the corporate world may have a hard time budgeting, tracking income, or saving for their future. To assist them in these goals, grant them access to tools like budgeting software, retirement saving plans, or financial counseling.
You can also urge them to use the power of their income to take responsibility for their financial well-being. For example, if you find a large number of your employees aren’t using a bank account, encourage them to open a checking and savings account. There are countless options to choose from, and even opportunities to find a bank that offers early paycheck deposits. This way, they can have access to their income sooner than usual and struggle less between pay periods. Employees can also set up automatic savings by creating scheduled deposits to be funneled into an emergency fund. That way the next time they have a real financial emergency, they have the means to pay for it without going into debt.
4. Encourage Continued Financial Education.
While offering financial tools and benefits is a great start to promoting financial wellness, it won’t solve all of your staffs’ money troubles. Since most Americans claim they understand very little about their finances, financial literacy programs are crucial in helping teach staff about more in-depth subjects like debt management, financial planning, and retirement savings. Consider investing in a program that focuses on the reasons why they need to make their finances a priority, besides just the how-to of managing money. Lots of vendors offer programs that are interactive and easy to use, even for the most complicated of subjects. You can also use real-time reports to gain insight into the performance of your staff.
Employers and employees should be vigilant when it comes to promoting financial wellness within the workplace. Providing opportunities for staff to learn more about their own finances demonstrates that the company values its employees. Financial education not only boosts employee commitment and loyalty but also lowers turnover and absenteeism. Employees who are less stressed about personal budgetary issues have more time to focus on their professional lives. Overall, promoting a culture of financial well-being is helping companies increase profitability while supporting our most precious resource—human value.