Money is stressing your people out: A financial wellbeing programme can help
3 November 2019 / Employee Experience
Financial wellbeing matters more to your employees than you might think. Give them the help they need to tackle their finances, and you’ll get a more productive and engaged workforce in return.
The holiday season usually gets all the attention when it comes to financial planning. In reality, there are life events, unexpected expenses, and ways for money to stress us out all year. When surveyed, 59% of employees cite financial stress as their top stressor — causing more distress than their job, relationships, or health concerns combined. And when people are stressed, they’re not as productive or engaged at work.
No matter the season, financial wellbeing should be prioritised as an important part of the employee experience. Not only do financial wellbeing programmes help prevent costly losses due to decreased productivity, people want their employers to provide this type of benefit. Eighty-two percent of employees want some kind of financial help, and it’s in the employer’s best interest to step up to the plate.
Offer a holistic financial wellbeing programme
According to FinFit, a holistic financial wellbeing programme is the most effective type of programme because it helps people learn to spend, save, borrow, and plan with confidence. Addressing each of these areas solves immediate cash flow problems and allows people to start planning for their financial future. While many companies offer benefits like retirement savings and health savings accounts, FinFit argues that people won’t use them if they don’t gain control over their spending habits first.
A wellbeing app that includes daily reminders to create a budget and track spending, and tips for saving money is an effective tool for employees looking to create better financial habits. By seeing something every day that encourages them to focus on their finances, it keeps it top of mind and encourages better behaviours. Over time, those daily behaviours become habits and so employees start to feel confident in the way they manage their finances. Then, they can start planning and saving for the future.
Make regular learning opportunities a part of the programme
Regular learning opportunities and incentives are so important to the success of a financial wellbeing programme. Not only do they inspire confidence in money management techniques, they can boost utilisation of your existing benefits. Unfortunately, many employees are confused about how common financial benefits work, if they know how to use them at all. Take Salary Sacrifice in Australia or UK, or 401k plans in the U.S. for example. A study found that 63% of Americans don’t understand how 401k plans work. If most workers can’t define one of the most common retirement savings plans, how can they be expected to make the most of it?
To ensure success, provide lots of different ways to learn. In-person learning opportunities can encourage people to ask questions and take that first step to their own financial goals. Then, self-guided learning through an app, especially if it’s incentivised, will help them continue to expand their knowledge.
Get feedback from your employees
If you don’t know what your financial wellbeing programme should include to be successful, ask your employees for input. You can use a simple survey to gauge interest in topics such as:
- Retirement savings
- Money management techniques
- Credit cards
- Understanding interest rates
- Student loan debt
- General financial literacy
- Caregiver planning
If you already have a financial wellbeing programme up and running, be sure to keep an eye on engagement levels within the programme and adjust your offerings as needed to ensure they’re being used. Your employees’ personal situations are always changing, and your financial wellbeing programme should change along with them.