Paying bills. Buying groceries. Purchasing clothes.
Whether it's every-day expenses or impulse buys, we're a part of a culture that spends. It can be anxiety-inducing for many Americans when they consider how much they spend in the context of their own financial situation. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers explains, “Nearly half of all employees say that personal financial challenges cause them the most stress in their lives.” Stressors don't stay at home when we leave for work, either. They creep into the work environment and affect overall employee focus and productivity.
It's important to recognize your employees' financial health is just as important as their physical and emotional health. Their overall wellness is a careful balancing act that requires attention – especially when it can also impact your bottom-line.
According to a report by Financial Finesse, “Employees who suffer from overwhelming financial stress or struggle to maintain financial stability tend to incur both immediate and future financial cost for their employer in the form of absenteeism, garnishments and payroll taxes.”
Even when employers acknowledge that financial wellness can create stress and impact work, they may still overlook a key component in combating this issue: financial literacy.
Just as you may think about adding healthier options for employees to have in the office, you should also consider having benefits and programs in place to better their financial wellness. For starters, it all begins by creating an educated workforce. You may already have benefits offerings (or even employee assistance programs), but that doesn't mean each employee understands where, why or how their benefits work.
EBRI and Greenwald & Associates 2018 survey highlights, “More than one-third (37%) of employees indicate that their employer or benefits company provides no education or advice on benefits.” There are simply too many people who aren't receiving the resources needed to get the full value of their benefits.
One way to help improve employee financial wellness is to partner with a benefits provider that has an ongoing benefits education and communication program. Their services can be an important resource to your employees as you begin preparing your annual enrollment. They can, first, help you identify any gaps your current coverage creates that may be causing financial stressors.
What's even better is some benefits providers offer benefits counseling sessions for your employees. They are there to ensure your employee understands the benefits available to them, answer any questions they may have and validate any of their benefits decisions.
Investing in your employees' wellness is actually an investment in your company's success. When you neglect that, you can create more costly problems. While financial wellness is just one facet of your employees' overall wellbeing, a little extra time and education can go a long way towards making their lives easier – and your company's results stronger.
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