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Reduce Employee Financial Stress And Boost The Bottom Line
For benefits decision-makers, employee physical wellness has always taken center stage, first with health insurance, then with proactive wellness programs designed to keep employees healthier and save employers money. Over the last few decades, as stress and behavioral health issues have been shown to take their toll in dramatic ways, emotional wellness has found a foothold in benefits packages.
Today, according to the 2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, financial wellness is the new priority for employers. Many companies are planning to offer or expand upon their current financial wellness programs and services. The survey notes how overall financial satisfaction for employees has taken a big turn for the worse, plunging by 13 percentage points between 2015 and 2017 – from 48% to 35%. But this survey also interviewed employers, learning they are increasingly acknowledging the stresses – and work issues – that arise when employees are constantly worried about their finances or, even worse, making ends meet.“…we knew financial stress was impacting health and productivity…we didn’t realize how much.”
Impact on the job
There are a number of studies that address how financial stress affects employees and their performance at work. As reported in a survey conducted by Lockton Retirement Services, a benefits brokerage and consultancy firm, employees stressed over finances were more than four times as likely to suffer from fatigue, headaches, depression, or other ailments. Even more surprising, they were twice as likely to report poor health overall, leading to more sick days, increased absenteeism, and decreased productivity.
“In our work with clients and their employees, we knew financial stress was impacting health and productivity,” said Donn Hess, Lockton’s senior vice president and director of marketing and communications. “But we didn’t realize how much.”
An International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey tells the story from the employer’s point of view, citing that four out of five reports that their employees’ personal financial issues are impacting their job performance, resulting in:
- An increase in stress among employees (reported by 76% of employers)
- Workers’ inability to focus at work (reported by 60%)
- Absenteeism and tardiness (reported by 34%)
A receptive audience
The best and most comprehensive employee financial wellness programs worldwide will only help if employees become engaged. According to the PwC 2018 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, the good news is they want help. To them, financial wellness has always been defined in terms of aspirational goals, like freedom from stress/financial worry and being able to make choices to enjoy life, so they’re looking for ways to get to that point.
The PwC survey found that more than half of all employees (54%) want to make their own financial decisions but want to have someone validate them. Employees want a financial wellness benefit to come with access to unbiased counselors and help to understand all their options.
Crafting the right solutions
Providing a financial wellness benefit isn’t as simple as offering a personal finance guidebook and hoping for the best. Based on MetLife’s 16th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, the ideal solutions involve providing real experiences that have meaning and value to employees – programs and offerings that support flexibility and empower employees to positively impact their situation.
Employees see their benefits as critical to enriching their work and life. Everyone benefits when employers play an active role in their employees’ financial wellness. The MetLife study found that the right solutions build confidence for employees, which creates positive results both inside and outside the workplace.
In their 2017 survey on corporate health and well-being, Fidelity Investments® and the National Business Group on Health® revealed 84% of companies now offer financial wellness services such as access to debt management tools or student loan counseling, an increase from 76% in 2016.
When considering a financial wellness program for your company, look for an experienced, dedicated partner like Espyr. Espyr can help you with financial coaching programs and innovative approaches to financial wellness as part of a customized Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
For more information on behavioral health programs, reducing financial stress, and increasing productivity within your company, call Espyr at 866-570-3479 or go to espyr.com.