Financial Wellness: A Key Component to Employee Wellbeing
It’s the holiday season, and with total holiday sales expected to exceed $1 trillion, you can expect consumers to feel the pinch when their credit card bills arrive in January. According to the Employee Financial Wellness Survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which tracks the financial wellbeing of full-time employed U.S. adults across the country, “many employees never fully regained stable footing” after the Great Recession. In fact, 52% of employees are stressed about their finances, with 45% saying that financial matters top the list of stressors in their lives, well above jobs (20%), health (15%) or relationships (15%). Not surprisingly, employees report that this stress has significant impacts:
When employees were asked what would most help them achieve their future financial goals, “lower health care costs” ranked second behind “better job security”. These facts point to a clear relationship between financial stressors and health care costs – indicating that lowering health care costs would lessen financial stressors on employees which in turn could improve financial wellness and employee health and productivity.
Here are some thoughts on how you can promote financial wellness in your organization:
Create a culture of caring. Only 44% of employees believe their employer cares about their financial wellbeing. Importantly, a large majority of Millennials (77%) and GenXers (73%) stated they are likely to be attracted to another company that cares more about their financial wellbeing. Culture matters and employees value a genuine interest in their financial wellbeing by their employers.
Create smart health care consumers. Most consumers of health care services do not take an active role in understanding what they are paying for or how to maximize their health care dollars. For example, more than half of all employees with health insurance are covered by a high or mid-deductible health care plan, yet only 38% of those with a high or mid-deductible plan contribute to a Health Savings Account. Encouraging participation in HSAs, and providing access to price transparency tools which allow consumers to comparison shop for services empowers employees to take control and make informed choices.
Continuous Education. Offer workshops, webinars and online tools on topics such as budgeting, debt elimination and retirement planning. These types of educational services are often free or low cost offerings from an employers’ benefit partners. Offering these services not only makes smarter financial consumers but also demonstrates an employer’s commitment to their employees’ financial wellbeing.
We encourage employers to integrate financial wellness into their overall organizational wellness strategy and continuously assess and refine that strategy to ensure it is adequately addressing employees’ needs and supporting the organizations’ goals.