In 2020, 62% of employers reported feeling extremely responsible for their employees' financial wellness—a feeling that was only shared by 13% of organizations back in 2013. This isn’t surprising. After witnessing the economic impact of COVID-19, companies quickly recognized the need to support the financial wellness of their workforce.
To understand exactly how perceptions around financial wellness have shifted during the pandemic, we sat down with Brittany Thorson, Manager of Total Rewards at KeepTruckin, and Sudhir Singh, Director of People at App Annie, to learn how they’re approaching benefits at their fast-growing companies.
Why does financial wellness matter in the workplace?
Before we dive in, let’s define what financial wellness means. According to Gallup, financial wellness is “effectively managing your economic life.”
We want to take that definition one step further. At Origin, we believe financial wellness means having a safe space to talk about money, as well as the tools, education, and resources to take action on their financial plans—whether that’s saving up to buy a home or creating their first budget.
This is an important concept to understand as an HR leader because, when asked what they feel causes them the most stress, more employees cite financial matters than any other life stressor combined—including their jobs, relationships, and health. Unaddressed, this financial stress can lead to higher turnover rates, increased absenteeism, and lost productivity.
Unfortunately, the professional guidance needed to achieve financial wellness is expensive and inaccessible for most people. That's why employees typically turn to their HR teams for answers when it comes to their most pressing financial questions. By providing comprehensive financial wellness benefits, employers can address this need for financial support without putting all the burden solely on HR teams.
How companies are approaching financial wellness benefits
Instead of sharing generic recommendations about how to introduce financial wellness offerings to your organization, we want to show you real examples of how other high-growth, successful companies are approaching their benefits strategy—specifically in a post-pandemic world. Here’s what we learned from Sudhir and Brittany:
At App Annie, benefits are selected based on the value they deliver to the business and their employees. With this formula, Sudhir and his team already had a comprehensive benefits package in place—from a generous 401k to a three-month “work from anywhere” offer for employees. But it was the pandemic that accelerated the company’s focus on financial wellness.
“There’s so much that’s resting on our financial wellness—at times, even our mental and physical health. So companies can look at two ways of dealing with it. One is giving their employees more money, and the other is helping employees be more efficient with money. And I think the latter strategy is good for everybody.”
To understand whether or not your financial wellness benefits are having the maximum impact—for both the business and your employees—Sudhir shares a recommendation:
- Maintain a constant dialogue. “Whatever we’re thinking of doing, we always go back to the user to determine their issues and understand how our solutions can help,” says Sudhir. Specifically, the team at App Annie uses surveys, focus groups, 1:1 interactions, and even feedback from managers to maintain an ongoing dialogue with their employees and inform their benefits decisions.
At KeepTruckin, Brittany’s priority has always been to provide employees with benefits that address the five elements of wellbeing: physical, career, social, community, and financial. During the pandemic, the financial element emerged as a clear priority for the organization, causing Brittany to ask herself:
“What can I provide to our employees, over and above a 401k, that would actually make their dollar go further and help them achieve their short and long-term goals?”
In response, KeepTruckin decided to partner with Origin to provide its workforce with personalized financial guidance. Brittany shared a recent anecdote of an employee who saved thousands of dollars in taxes and fees by consulting with Origin's CFP® professionals throughout the home-selling process.
“Typically, in the benefits space, you really only hear from employees if it’s not working. Origin is the one program that I hear positive feedback about, which I love.”
When it comes to getting the most out of your financial wellness benefits, Brittany has a few tips:
- Share constant reminders. According to Brittany, one of the best ways to increase the utilization of any benefit is to remind employees that they exist. She uses various strategies, from hosting quarterly webinars to educating new hires during the onboarding process to keep benefits top of mind for everyone.
- Lean on your vendors. HR and People teams are responsible for an overwhelming number of benefits—from financial wellness to healthcare. Rather than trying to manage everything on their own, Brittany encourages people to lean on their vendors for support. A good partner should provide support around the education, implementation, and troubleshooting of their offering.
Financial wellness will only continue to be a top priority in a post-pandemic world. As an employer, now is the time to rethink your benefits package and assess whether financial wellness offerings make sense for your workforce. If you’re curious to learn how Origin can support your organization, request a demo.