While the current national economy is fairly strong, the state of our personal financial wellness is scarier than ever. According to the recent Country Financial Security Index, 67% of Americans are worried about their financial future, credit card debt last year hit a record high and 44% can’t come up with $400 to cover an unexpected expense.
“The financial stress that plagues so many Americans follows them to work,” said Brian Nelson Ford, Financial Well-Being Executive at SunTrust Bank. “This leads to lower satisfaction in pay, decreased productivity and poorer health.”
Taking a closer look at how companies are affected, a Mercer survey discovered that employees spend about 150 hours of their work time every year worrying about their personal finances. That’s about a month of not-very-productive work, something difficult to absorb for companies of all sizes.
Three Ways Financial Wellness Can Help
Leaders are increasingly understanding their role in addressing financial wellness. But are they moving fast enough? A recent PwC survey of U.S. employees showed that financial wellness is the most desired employee benefit, exceeding even student loan repayment.
Maybe this list of three ways financial programs help companies will spur some action.
Improve Employee Engagement
Worried workers are more than disengaged. A 2016 Towers Watson survey found that workers stressed about finances are absent from work almost twice as often as those who aren’t stressed. By alleviating stress and worry, financial wellness programs can dramatically increase your workforce’s productivity and attendance.
Attract and Retain Employees
Worrying about money is a pain. Moving from job to job for a bit more money is common, especially in today’s job-friendly environment. Offering a financial wellness program can go a long way in this regard. According to a 2017 study by MetLife, 51% of employees are more likely to accept a job from a new employer when financial planning programs are offered. Similarly, 53% would be more loyal to their current employer when offered financial planning programs.
Lower Healthcare Spend
Stress can lead to all kinds of physical problems – heart disease, stroke, digestive problems, weight gain and more – all of which, in turn, leads to higher insurance premiums for employers. While nailing down actual savings due to financial wellness programs is difficult, one study of a large public company reported an annual healthcare savings of almost 22% for heavy users of their financial wellness program.
Three Ways to Make Financial Wellness Work
If the above list did its job, you’re going to introduce a financial wellness program into your company, which is great. Both you and your employees will be very happy. Before you move forward, though, please keep these three tips in mind, as suggested by an article in Spark, powered by ADP.
Talk to Your Employees
Conduct a survey to find out exactly what your employees want in a program, and in what areas they need the most assistance.
Keep Materials Simple and Clear
As with anything financial, there will always be fine print. But please make sure all program materials are clearly written and easy to understand. If it looks too complicated, it won’t be used.
Make the Program Readily Available
In an article from TheStreet, Financial Literacy Group founder Dan Iannicola recommends you make your financial wellness program available to employees during work hours, not during their lunch hours. Also, he warns against incorporating any pitches for financial services or products. The objective here is to share information, not to sell.
One More Tip: Talk to Espyr
For years, Espyr has been on the leading edge of behavioral health programs creating innovative products and services that help people and organizations achieve their full potential. For more information on Espyr’s financial wellness products or other behavioral health programs call 888-570-3479 or go to espyr.com.