57 percent of employees surveyed by the PwC for their 2023 Employee Financial Wellness Report say that money is today their top cause of stress. Factors like inflation, the rising cost of rent and education, and a national wage shortage come together to contribute to a perceived lack of control over one’s finances and financial life, and it’s affecting how employees are showing up for work.
From this same study, 34 percent of workers who feel stressed about their money admit that it has caused significant distraction for them whilst on-the-job. And the cost to organizations is palpable: American organizations spend a total of around $300 billion each year on problems related to employee stress, including turnover, absenteeism, and lost productivity.
The solution? Investing in employee financial wellness.
Financial stress can have a serious impact on other aspects of an employee’s life, everything from sleep disturbances to their sense of self-esteem, which further contributes to the problems listed above. The silver lining of it all is that organizations can make a more holistic impact on employee health and productivity by addressing this one concern.
Let’s dive in.
What is financial wellness?
‘Financial wellness’ is a blanket term describing the state of financial stability and security that allows individuals to enjoy a sense of confidence and freedom when it comes to their money.
Financial wellness, or wellbeing, is at once a measurable concept of monetary preparedness, as well as a feeling of comfort and control over one’s financial reality.
5 key factors of long term financial wellness
Here are a few critical components of financial wellness.
Income - An individual’s earnings-to-expenditure ratio will determine their financial capacity in the first place. A paycheck should be enough to cover obligatory expenses, such as rent and food, with enough leftover to save comfortably and enjoy life. It is the responsibility of any employing organization to ensure that they are paying all members of their workforce a thriving wage.
Savings - As a general term, this means both emergency savings as well as a nest-egg for retirement. Having an emergency savings account allows individuals to avoid going into debt in the event of an unexpected expense – a vet bill, a car breakdown, etc. And a retirement account allows individuals to continue to live in comfort and independence beyond their working years.
Insurance - In a similar vein to savings, health, life, pet, homeowner, and other types of insurance allow individuals to absorb financial shocks without incurring debt or risking bankruptcy. Insurance can represent a significant cost at the outset, but it saves individuals more in the long run if and when they need to use it. Organizations providing their workers with health insurance, etc. should make sure the plans in place are accessible and affordable.
Debt - Debt levels can have a significant impact on an individual’s financial wellness. All debt, including credit, student loans, etc. can limit an individual’s financial freedom and impact their spending and saving abilities – not to mention that unpaid debt can hurt your credit score. The less debt one has the better, but a lower debt-to-income ratio can also signal a good position to pay off what one owes.
Strategy - Having a financial plan in place is an underrated aspect of financial wellness, and often the first step an individual can take towards better monetary stability. Creating a set of objectives leading towards an eventual goal, creating and sticking to a budget, strategizing debt repayment, etc. can help to keep an individual on track towards their ideal financial future.
Cultivating financial wellness, on both an individual and group level, requires an amalgamation of behavioral practice and critical circumstance. One has to have adequate income to support greater financial flexibility, which then allows them to work with their money to build even stronger monetary foundations.
Steps to take towards better employee financial wellness
Financial wellness programs are taking the business world by storm as the latest gotta-have workforce benefit. Here are a few things your organization can do to make it happen.
Employee financial wellness assessment
No two employee financial situations will be exactly the same. Successful implementation of a truly helpful financial wellness program requires that you gain a better understanding of what it is your employees need to achieve a better state of financial wellbeing.
The first assessment will be to establish a baseline to determine whether your employees have financial wellness, and if not, what will it take to get them there?
For privacy’s sake, consider asking your employees to independently calculate their financial score, and rate the factor with the highest impact so you can better understand your workforce’s financial reality: learn more here.
Talking to your people
A metric-driven assessment of your employees’ current financial wellness will help to give you an idea of the area you might need to target to better support financial wellbeing. But you also need to figure out what your employees want in a financial wellness program – relevant content and tooling is the best way to ensure that your workforce will actually engage with whatever initiatives you put into place.
Consider sending out a survey that asks employees what are their top financial concerns, and what support they most want to receive. You can give them a list of options to rank – for example, expert financial planning, debt repayment support, a budget calculator, etc. – or ask them to describe their ideal financial wellness program. This can be done via email or any other communications platform, or you can solicit managers to collect this information one-on-one during meetings with direct reports.
Finding the right financial wellness solution
A financial wellness solution makes it easier to deliver financial wellness programming to your workforce. But not all solutions offer the same benefits – some, like Origin, offer flexible initiatives which individual employees can access based on their need. Others offer more targeted interventions built to address specific financial grievances, such as debt.
For enterprise organizations, a flexible platform is more scalable, and continues to offer value over the long-term as employees gain financial stability and begin to strategize their wealth.
Learn more about financial wellness solutions here.
Getting everyone on board
Benefit engagement often lags because employees don’t know about the benefit you offer. It’s not enough to have a benefit in place – you need to tell your people what it’s for, how they can engage, and where to sign up.
If this is your first financial wellness program, consider holding seminars to orient employees to this new benefit. Included should be a use-case, tool and content examples, as well as the exact steps they should take to get on board.
Orientation to your financial wellness programming should also be included in any new-employee onboarding meeting. Don’t be afraid to push the program – everyone stands to benefit.
What’s next? Implementing a financial wellness program
Implementing a financial wellness program can have a transformative effect for individual employees, as well as the success of your organization.
But once you have your solution in place, you need to make sure it’s working.
Modern financial wellness solutions allow you to track engagement and progress, giving you convenient insight into the functionality of whatever program you have in place. However your team must still set goals and metrics at the beginning of implementation to ensure the program is doing what you need it to do.
For example, you might want to increase employee retirement savings contributions by a certain percentage, or stabilize retention. Make a note of these rates before implementation, and check back in at least once a quarter following the start of your program. This will help you to address problems as they arise, and continue delivering helpful content to your people.
Origin’s flexible, modern solution supports holistic employee financial wellness, delivering real impact to the businesses who invest. Learn more about what implementing Origin can do for you: Use Origin.