Study Shows Supporting Financial Health through Employee Wellness Programs Will Pay Off

employee financial wellness programs

Study Shows Supporting Financial Health through Employee Wellness Programs Will Pay Off

Plenty of studies prove the role of workplace benefits and employee wellness programs in boosting engagement and productivity. Also, they are known to encourage a healthier lifestyle and improve the quality of life. In addition to physical and mental wellbeing, most of these programs focus on holistic health dimensions like social and financial wellness, which are the need of the hour.

Financial experts at the Bank of America say the positive impact of these employee wellness programs is worth celebrating. They also agree that employers can do a lot more to expand and empower their workforce through these holistic programs.

Bank of America reported findings of a study to understand employer attitudes towards financial wellness programs and study how they are addressing employee issues. The survey also revealed that as employee wellbeing needs are evolving, employers are taking a holistic approach to address these diverse corporate wellness trends.

BoA’s Workplace Benefits Report

Bank of America revealed the findings from its 11th Annual Workplace Benefits report. Escalent surveyed 1,363 full-time employees with 401(k) plans and 834 employers who offered 401(k) plans and shared responsibility for employee plans and decisions. The survey was conducted between December 28, 2020, and February 8, 2021.

According to the findings, compared to 81% in 2015, 95% of employers felt a responsibility towards the financial wellness of their workforce, and 56% felt highly responsible.

Compared to 40% in 2020, 46% of employers were offering financial wellness programs and were expanding their support towards employee financial wellbeing during the study period. The financial wellbeing support and resources included –

financial wellness support from employers

employers offering financial wellness support

In addition to financial wellness programs, employers are also focusing on other holistic approaches for overall employee wellbeing. According to the report, around 72% of employers were offering or were planning to offer diversity and inclusion programs in the next two years. Also, 55% were taking adequate measures to promote an intergenerational workforce to support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This approach gave positive results as 57% of employers agreed that providing these resources to the workforce has driven overall wellbeing and increased workplace productivity.

The other findings of the report included –

  • Rebounding employee financial wellness feelings – As employers address employee financial wellness concerns, they seem to have a positive outcome. Compared to 49% in 2020, almost 51% of employees consider their financial health as excellent or good in the current study period. This was a steady improvement to reach the pre-pandemic levels of around 55% in 2019.
  • Higher Gender and Ethnic Diversity – Unlike previous decades, the younger generation is more open to gender and ethnic diversity. Compared to 51% of women in the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers employee groups, the Millennials and Generation Z employee groups (ages 18-44) included almost 69% of women.
  • Holistic Workplace benefits – According to the study, 60% of employees said their mental health impacted their overall wellbeing. Also, 54% said the same for physical health and 46% for financial health. However, only one-third of employers were connecting more than twice regarding employee physical and mental health.
  • Improving Healthcare Plans – High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) are known to be the best way to provide access to Health Savings Account (HSA). Although HSA use was significant in the eligible employee groups, there was scope for improvement in the younger generations. For example, while 74% of Baby Boomer and Silent Generation employee groups, and 84% of Gen X (ages 45-54) were contributing to their HSA, only 68% of Millennials and Gen Z employee groups were doing the same.
  • Supporting Employee Debt Concerns – As per the study, 60% of Asians, 81% of White/Caucasian, 87% of Hispanic/Latino employees, and 88% of Black/African American employees were currently having some kind of debt-related issues. To support employees through their debt challenges, 53% of employers are offering help through their financial wellness programs, which increased from 15% in 2013.

The study also showed that financial wellness and its related stress levels varied based on ethnicity and employee working generation. Compared to 84% of Baby Boomers/Silent Generation employee groups, 94% of Gen X and 93% of Millennials/Gen Z were more likely to be stressed about their financial situation.

The gender-based study revealed that compared to 57% of men, only 47% of women considered their financial health to be excellent or good. Also, 92% of women felt stressed about their finances and their related situations, whereas a relatively lesser 88% of men felt that way.

Supporting employee mental, financial, and physical wellbeing is essential to ensure a work-life balance. The more support and resources are offered to employees, the more they will be engaged, healthy, and productive, reflecting workplace wellbeing and business growth.

In short, employers must identify the specific health and wellness needs, and offer resources to support them through their employee wellness programs.