Financial wellness is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after employee benefits. Here’s how to ask for it at your company.
According to most employees, finances are the leading cause of stress, beating out job, health, and relationship worries combined.
While subscriptions to meditation apps and on-demand fitness programs can help with mental and physical well-being, the surest way to relieve employee stress is to alleviate its root—money. This can be achieved through a holistic approach to financial wellness.
Unfortunately, not all financial wellness initiatives are the same.
A webinar about how to maximize your 401(k) account may fulfill your HR department’s goal of offering a financial benefit, but it’s not financial wellness. Instead, a financial wellness program should be personalized and combine cutting-edge technology with 1-on-1 coaching to get a 360 view of your finances and create a clear, actionable plan to achieve your life goals.
Read this article if you want your company to pay for financial wellness benefits—like 1-on-1’s with a Certified Financial Planner™, tax advice, financial literacy courses, and personalized budgets.
How to make a case for financial wellness at your company
We spoke with several HR and benefits leaders about how employees can successfully ask for a financial wellness program, and they all shared these common tips:
Their key takeaways were:
- Speak up! Rather than wait for HR to solicit input, speak directly with your manager or make an appointment with your HR or People team lead to make the request.
- Show support: If multiple employees ask for the same benefit, odds are they will research it.
- Do your homework: While you don’t need a business plan, include any facts or information stating how the perk is beneficial to the employee and the employer.
Beyond these tips, we took a deeper look at how to make the business case for financial wellness in your workplace.
1. Map business goals to financial wellbeing
“A good employee wellness program must address both employee and company needs,” says Sharon Bowen, an independent HR consultant. “It is important to select wellness perks that assist employees to remain engaged and committed to the company through improved health.”
As you develop your reasoning for a financial wellness program, think about your company’s strategic business goals for the year. These topline goals connect the company’s larger purpose and ensure it’s moving in the right direction.
To make progress toward these goals, employees need to be present and focused. Stress is the enemy of productivity—a PwC survey found that 50% of employees are distracted by finances at work, costing employers an estimated $250 billion per year in lost productivity and absenteeism.
2. Explain how financial wellness improves employees’ mental health
“It’s important to recognize the role mental health plays in your employees’ well-being,” says Ana Feltrin, who majored in Psychology and is a People Partner at Origin.
“It can manifest in the form of burnout, chronic stress, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, body aches—and this all impacts the workplace. Employers can help by checking in on their workers and providing them with support and services they need.”
A survey found that 40% of people say managing their money daily limits the extent to which they can enjoy their day-to-day life. Being stressed about money also directly impacts health and can negatively affect everything from sleep quality to respiratory symptoms.
Research shows that financial stress manifests itself with regard to mental health as well:
- People in debt have higher rates of mental health issues like depression and anxiety than those who are debt-free.
- Financial stress is the second most common cause of suicide after depression.
- 86% of people with mental health problems said that their financial situation worsened their mental health problems.
On the other hand, when people feel good about their financial health, they feel optimistic about their overall health.
3. Employees want financial wellness benefits and will look elsewhere if they don’t have it
“The best thing you can do is talk the benefit over with your coworkers and be able to demonstrate that it’s something many people on the team want and would get value from,” says Matt Erhard, a partner at a recruiting firm.
A recent survey found that nearly 60% of respondents feel it’s more critical now that employers offer financial wellness benefits due to the pandemic, and 53% of respondents also said they would feel less stressed about their overall financial situation if they had financial wellness benefits.
On the other hand, 50% of respondents would be more committed to staying with their employer for a longer period if they offered financial wellness benefits.
One PwC survey found that millennials and Gen Xers say their loyalty to their company is influenced by how much they care about their financial well-being. They are more likely to be attracted to another company that cares more about their financial wellness.
4. Financial wellness helps utilize other benefits
Nothing is more frustrating to HR than spending time and money on a benefit, only to have it underutilized by employees.
The right financial wellness program will compliment your company’s other offerings and help employees maximize their total compensation package.
Financial wellness programs that combine personalized 1-on-1 financial planning services, such as Origin, consider all benefits—like 401(k)s, family planning, HSAs, FSAs—and show employees how to maximize their value.
At Udemy, Origin financial planners identified benefits relevant to employees’ financial plans and helped employees take advantage of their total rewards and compensation packages.
“In just the first few months, Origin is our number one most utilized new benefit,” said Emily Duff, manager of Global Benefits at Udemy.
The bottom line
While the value of a financial wellness benefit is apparent to you, they are equally valuable to your employer. What your employer provides is determined by its business needs, interest from employees, and how much the benefit is used.
To get the conversation started, send an email or schedule a meeting with your HR lead.
“The more thought you’ve given to the details of the benefit and how it will be implemented, the more likely it will be to get serious consideration,” Erhard reminds us. “This shows you’re serious about the benefit, makes it easier to picture in real-world terms, and shows you don’t expect HR the heavy mental lifting of how to implement the idea.”
If need more information about how to implement a financial wellness program at your company, schedule a meeting. We want to see everyone succeed on their path towards financial wellness.