Financial wellness programs have now become more crucial than ever. A joint study by SHRM and Morgan Stanley at Work showed that 23% of working males and 35% of female workers faced some kind of financial trouble since the pandemic started. Many other studies show that financial stress has become a key reason for employee anxiety, affecting their health and wellbeing. Also, it affects their productivity and healthcare costs.
- Employee turnover number reduced by 1%
- 46% of Millennials and 44% of Gen X working groups said they were more likely to be loyal to a company that cared about their financial wellbeing
- Absenteeism rates were reduced by 24.6%
- Overall $271.50 was saved per employee towards healthcare costs.
So, how can employers prioritize financial health at the workplace?
Thanks to all its multiple benefits, employers are now prioritizing and offering financial wellness at the workplace through their employee wellness programs. Here are 5 steps for employers to develop and implement the best-fitting financial wellness program for their workplace.
Step 1 – Know Your Workforce’s Financial Wellbeing Needs
Financial wellbeing can mean different things to different people. Often, individuals who suffer from poor financial health usually do not get the needed support from the workplace benefits. Employers must start by identifying the specific financial health and wellbeing needs. Understanding the specific wellbeing requirements of employees can help in designing financial wellness programs with the best-suited modules and tools.
Step 2 – Build a Positive Workplace Culture
While identifying the specific employee health and wellbeing needs is a crucial step, it can be difficult to know if employees do not open up about it. Most times, employees hesitate to talk about their financial difficulties since they feel it can discriminate against them in the workplace. Also, a feeling of shame and embarrassment stops them from opening up about their issues. Employers must establish a positive workplace culture that does not allow space for such discrimination or taboos. The workforce must be encouraged to discuss their issues with the management or HR teams without worrying about the consequences.
Step 3 – Focus on the Progress
Although it may seem daunting to start any employee wellness program, it is vital to implement it to improve the financial health and overall wellbeing of the workforce. Most companies with effective financial wellness programs started by having open discussions about money matters with their employees. These insights were considered to build and expand the wellbeing program. With each new discussion, survey, or poll, employers will find new ideas and needs, which they can use to build momentum. So, employers and wellness coordinators must focus more on the progress and expand the employee wellness solutions accordingly, and not just expect perfection in the first go.
Step 4 – Create Comprehensive Communication Plans
Despite offering expensive incentives and trending workplace benefits, most employee wellness programs fail since the workforce is not communicated well about it. If the workforce does not know what the wellbeing program offers or its benefits, the anticipated employee engagement or ROI will not be achieved. A successful employee wellness program must have a comprehensive communication plan across multiple channels to ensure every message reaches out to the entire workforce. An effective communication plan in action can ensure high employee engagement and success.
Step 5 – Measure the Impact
Most employee wellness programs are long-term processes, and the impact reflects after a long period. Similarly, it takes time to improve the financial health of the entire workforce. It is difficult to understand the impact and benefits of the wellbeing program if it is not measured. So, using the right metrics to measure the impact of the wellbeing program is a crucial step.
Since employee engagement can help understand the success of the employee wellness programs, employers can start measuring the impact of the programs with the right engagement metrics like studying the participation rates, retention rates, turnover rates, absenteeism, etc. Employers must understand the best-suited metrics that are aligned with their business goals, and measure them at regular intervals to understand the impact of the financial wellness programs.
ROI of Financial Wellbeing
The most common reasons for financial stress are – rising healthcare costs, high debts, and insufficient or no emergency savings. Most of these issues can be resolved with the right financial programs, thus reducing overall stress. The right modules of the employee wellness programs can help the workforce achieve their holistic health and wellbeing goals. And the ROI can be easily measured in the long run as reduced healthcare costs, higher engagement, lower turnover rates, and more importantly, happier and healthier employees.