How many times do you think about your finances in a day? A study by the American Psychological Association reports 62% of respondents say money is their most common source of stress. And that stress spreads into your business, impacting productivity, physical health, and the ability to focus.
Adding a program for financial wellness support can reduce stress by empowering your employees with the tools they need to manage their money. Focusing on an employee’s overall financial health, a financial program replaces worry with actions that support goals.
Want to know more about offering financial wellness in your workplace? Keep reading.
What is Financial Wellness Support?
When an employee lives paycheck to paycheck, it puts them under a tremendous amount of pressure. Financial stress, just like every other kind of stress, leads to health issues and reduced productivity.
Financial wellness programs provide solutions and access to tools that can alleviate or reduce stress. Realizing that many workers would like help managing their finances, you have an opportunity to add financial wellness programs to your traditional benefits packages.
What Does a Financial Wellness Plan Look Like?
Though you might offer a company-matched contribution to an employee’s retirement plan, you may wonder why some don’t take advantage of it. The answer is simple: someone who is struggling to pay their monthly bills doesn’t think they can spare 1% to 3% of their income to fund a retirement account.
A financial wellness support program can change all that. It includes guidance to improve an employee’s finances one step at a time.
- Evaluate – Before a financial wellness program can help, you need to know what your employees are struggling with the most. Creating a program based on their needs will provide employees with what they need to assess their financial situation and make positive changes.
- Education – A support program helps employees develop good financial judgment. Depending on where they are in life, this can mean different things. As an employer, you can create a solid foundation for their finances by taking the time to educate your employees.
- Empower – After creating awareness, the final step is to empower your employees to take ownership of their finances. Giving them the right tools to access online, by phone, or in person will enable them to make changes.
How to Start a Financial Wellness Plan for your Employees
Designing a financial wellness program doesn’t need to disrupt existing benefits and compensation packages. Evaluating current programs and adding additional elements to complement those offerings is ideal.
Building a positive atmosphere that embraces change is key to starting a successful financial wellness plan. The ultimate goal is to lead your employees to shift their behavior and develop better financial decision-making skills.
Before spending a lot of time and resources on a financial program, conduct a survey to find out where your employees most want or need assistance. It might surprise you to know that help with budgeting doesn’t top their list. Though that’s certainly an essential starting point to financial wellness, your program might also include resources for choosing long-term care or life insurance, investment options, and retirement planning.
After you know what your staff is looking for, it’s time to create awareness of any changes or added options in their benefits plans. Distributing financial education materials and articles from trusted companies and vendors is a good start. An email newsletter or poster can advocate for the new program, too.
Giving employees easy-to-understand worksheets and software can help them prepare a budget, calculate their net worth, or estimate their retirement needs. Educating them on topics of interest through webinars or “lunch and learns” can engage staff and encourage them to use tools you’re providing.
Any of your staff could have expenses that exceed their incomes and be carrying large amounts of debt. For lasting improvements to any financial situation, there needs to be a change in behavior. To encourage your employees through your financial wellness program, consider making the program readily available while on the job and not just during lunch breaks. Arranging for one-on-one sessions with advisors or reputable vendors can also facilitate behavior change.
A quality financial wellness plan will present information that benefits employees the most, but needs can change over time. As your program continues, poll your staff periodically to uncover new or unmet financial problems they’d like to learn more about. It might take some time to get it right, but could increase productivity, improve morale, and reduce turnover, making the program worth the effort.
Financial problems can distract your employees at work, making them prone to downtime, absenteeism, and turnover. Given that nearly 25% of Americans have no emergency savings at all, it’s no surprise they worry about money. An effective program can reduce stress about money and guide your staff through the many financial stages of life while fostering a happier, healthier workplace.