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Employer’s guide to prioritizing financial wellness for employees

Employer’s guide to prioritizing financial wellness for employees

In today’s economic climate, financial wellness is increasingly important to employees, and that means financial well-being in the workplace must also be important to employers. Wellness is a hot topic today, and people are beginning to realize that, to be effective, holistic wellness needs to address every aspect of well-being. Mental, physical, and, yes, even financial health needs to be in sync for true wellness to be achieved. If one part is out of balance, being completely healthy can be impossible. 

Financial wellness in the workplace is a big part of this. Research shows that an estimated 60% of full-time employees are stressed about money. Astonishingly, even those making $100,000 per year or more often feel employee financial stress — the same study found that almost half (57%) of people who earn 6 figures still have money stress in their lives. 

As an employer, your role in creating a healthy workforce goes beyond just providing physical health initiatives. Supporting your employees’ financial wellness is a crucial piece of the puzzle. By actively helping them reduce stress about money, you’re contributing to a healthier workplace and fostering a more productive and positive working environment.  

Read on for actionable strategies for improving financial wellness in the workplace.

What is financial wellness?

Financial wellness is not just about having money — it’s about being in control of your finances. It’s about feeling confident in your financial stability and ability to responsibly meet and exceed your financial goals. When you achieve financial wellness, you experience less stress about money, which can lead to a higher-quality life. It’s about knowing how much money you have, where you want to go with your savings and financial future, and how you’ll realistically get there. 

Why is employee financial wellness important in the workplace?

Employee financial wellness is vital in the workplace because when employees are stressed about money, it can filter into all parts of their lives, including work. Anxiety over money and financial well-being can impact things like job performance and satisfaction. When financial wellness is emphasized and made a priority in organizations, it can lead to positive benefits such as:

  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increased productivity metrics
  • Positive workplace culture
  • Reduced presenteeism
  • Enhanced morale
  • Improved loyalty
  • Lowered turnover rates
  • Improved company and brand reputation 

What is a financial wellness program?

Workplace financial wellness programs are structured, employee-sponsored initiatives that aim to improve financial health and literacy for employees. They are often a key component of employee wellness programs. Employee financial wellness programs provide resources, education, and support so employees can learn to address various aspects of personal financial responsibilities, such as budgeting, saving, investing, and managing or reducing debt.

What should a financial wellness program include?

An employer-sponsored employee financial well-being program should include various types of financial wellness benefits, resources, and support. The ultimate goal is to increase and improve employees’ financial well-being. 

Financial wellness activities at work might look like: 

  • Hosting financial education workshops 
  • Offering access to qualified financial advisors 
  • Providing budgeting tools 
  • Offering retirement planning 

Financial education and literacy

Financial education and literacy tools can empower your employees to take control of their financial health. By providing these resources, you’re equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions, plan for the future, manage debt responsibly, and save for retirement. This empowerment in their financial well-being can be instrumental in helping employees navigate financial challenges, both now and confidently in the future.

Personal financial counseling

Providing personal financial counseling to employees will give them access to tailored guidance for managing their money. They can work with professionals to address specific financial issues and outline healthy, reachable goals. Financial counseling helps employees develop strategies to manage or pay down debt, learn how to budget, plan to save, start a smart investment plan, and prepare for significant life events, like buying a home or saving for a future college fund.

Retirement planning support

Retirement planning support can arm employees with important knowledge and powerful tools that help prepare them for life after a career. Employees must learn to set realistic retirement goals and figure out how to maximize their savings potential using tools like employer-sponsored retirement plans, like 401(k)s. Careful, critical planning will set employees up for a comfortable future.

Emergency savings assistance

Emergency savings assistance can help employees establish financial security that prepares them for the unexpected. Encouraging them to build a safety fund will promote stability and peace of mind, knowing they’ll be able to handle anything that comes at them in the future financially.  

Debt management programs

Provide support and resources to employees facing financial challenges due to debt. If they’re struggling to pay down credit card or loan balances, debt management programs can help reduce or alleviate financial stress with tools like debt consolidation, negotiation, and budgeting assistance. 

Access to financial tools

When employees have access to financial tools like budgeting apps, investment calculators, and retirement planning software, they have everything they need to manage their finances and make more informed financial decisions.

Student loan assistance

Recent research estimates that more than 43 million Americans are paying off federal student loan debt. Offering student loan assistance to your employees shows you’re committed to enhancing their financial well-being. Student loan debt can be an incredible burden that prevents people from buying houses or saving for retirement. Employer assistance can come in a variety of forms, including repayment contributions or helping to refinance.

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs)

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) can encourage financial wellness at work by allowing employees to manage healthcare expenses creatively. These accounts hold pretax contributions into a fund that can pay for medical expenses. Strategies like these can help employees reduce their taxable income, so they pay less in taxes and essentially bring more money home.

Wellness challenges and incentives

Creating and implementing financial wellness challenges or incentives can motivate your employees to get them engaged in improving their financial wellness. Think: budgeting workshops or retirement planning seminars. Offering rewards and recognition for participation or certain levels of achievement promotes the importance of financial literacy across your workforce.

Regular financial wellness assessments

Conduct regular financial wellness assessments for your employees to provide valuable insight into where they stand financially. This is also an opportunity to highlight areas where they can improve their financial health. Assessments like these can help employees identify very targeted and specific financial needs — and offering financial wellness benefits, support, and resources ensures they can make substantial and meaningful progress toward their financial goals.

Investing in overall wellness for employees

Today, financial wellness in the workplace must be included in the effort to maintain physical and mental employee well-being. For employees to be their absolute best — in life and at work — they need to take a holistic approach to being healthy. Financial stress can lead to anxiety and depression, so it makes sense that mental and financial health are linked. Offering mental health resources will allow employees to focus on their mental well-being while they get their financial lives in order at the same time. 

Learn how Talkspace can be another powerful resource that ensures your employees become the best version of themselves on every level. Request a demo today to learn how online therapy for employees supports wellness in the workplace.

Sources:

  1. “PWC’s 2023 Employee Financial Wellness Survey.” 2023. PwC. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/business-transformation/library/employee-financial-wellness-survey.html.  
  2. Haverstock , Eliza, and Anna Helhoski . 2023. “Student Loan Debt Statistics: 2024.” NerdWallet. September. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/loans/student-loans/student-loan-debt.  

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