One in three employees admit to being less productive at work because of financial stress, according to the MetLife white paper “Thriving in the Work-Life World.” Incredibly, that means within your immediate work group, one or more people are worrying about a high medical bill, heavy student loan debt or paying their mortgage. Depending on which generation they fall into—Boomers, GenXers or Millennials—there seem to be certain major life stressors that interfere with optimal work performance.
“The Employer’s Guide to Finance Wellness,” an independent survey of 10,000 adults commissioned by Salary Finance, found that financial worries among employees account, on average, for 3.4 hours of lost time per week and 1.1 additional sick days per year. Even when employees are present, those with financial worries are 4.0 times more likely to say they feel depressed. Four in ten employees reported they would not be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense. All told, financial un-wellness can be equated to a loss of up to 14% of salary costs for employers or nearly $500 billion in GDP annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Companies and their HR departments are taking note with a burgeoning trend toward financial wellness assistance, both to help employees better manage their finances and to increase productivity and retention at work. Providing this type of support is far more economical for a company than losing valuable employees and having to recruit and train new ones.
There are myriad programs available to help employees, including financial education, student loan repayment programs, salary linked short-term loans, pay-day cash advances, employer-matched savings programs and Paid Time Off (PTO) cash-outs. Some are designed to teach employees the basic tenets of personal finance and budgeting, while others offer concrete programs for reducing debt and saving money—often with employer assistance. Employers also are innovating ways in which to deliver financial support to employees. UNUM developed a student repayment program funded by applying the value of unused Paid-Time off to the loan balance. Employee Assistance Programs are also a critical component of developing a well-rounded financial wellness program by providing emotional support as employees address their financial concerns.
In the same way we advise companies about the best medical, life and disability insurance products available, Atlas Benefit Consulting can research and develop financial wellness programs that help meet employer needs, support employees, keep them productive at work and centered in their personal lives. No two companies are alike in their employee profiles and stress points, so we work with them to fully understand their needs and develop the best possible solutions.
With tight labor markets, companies know they have to develop benefit strategies that can successfully attract and retain valuable employees. Offering financial wellness assistance programs shows potential new hires that the company wants them to succeed and demonstrates a true commitment to its people.
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Contact Atlas at (808) 533-8651 for more information about developing a cost effective, impactful financial wellness program that makes sense for your business and your employees.