The focus of traditional health and well-being programs is on encouraging physical activity and healthy eating. But, stress can directly impact your employees’ physical health — and nearly half of employees are stressed about their finances, according to PwC’s annual employee financial wellness survey External Site.
Did you know Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield have partnered with SmartDollar®? Watch their latest (and free) webinar, "Bringing Financial Wellness to Your Employees," External Site to learn about the impact a real financial well-being solution can have on your employees, and the free resources available to you (client or not) during COVID-19.
When your employees are stressed about their finances, they’re less productive and more likely to take time off to deal with financial matters, seek a job with higher compensation and cite health issues caused by financial stress.
See how your employees’ financial stress can impact your company — and learn what you can do to help.
What is financial well-being?
Financial well-being can look different for everyone, but in general, it means that an individual has control over their day-to-day finances, has the financial capacity to absorb a large expense without stress and is on track to meet his or her financial goals.
The impact of financial stress
When your employees are stressed about their finances, it can affect your bottom line, including: increased health care costs averaging $66,000 per 1,000 employees. Lost productivity from distractions averaging $330,000 per 1,000 employees and 50 percent of employees spend three or more hours each week dealing with personal finance issues. Lost productivity from missing work averaging $16,600 per 1,000 employees and 47 percent of employees who are stressed financially say they miss work occasionally or feel their productivity suffers due to financial worry.
More than half of employees experiencing financial stress plan to postpone retirement because they haven’t saved enough. For you, this can mean higher health care premiums as your workforce gets older, higher salaries for a more experienced workforce and retention and promotion issues for younger employees.
Employees who are stressed about their finances are five times more likely to be distracted by their finances at work, two times as likely to spend three hours or more at work each week dealing with financial matters, and two times as likely to have less than $50,000 saved for retirement.
Source: PwC Financial Wellness Survey, 2018.
What you can do to help
According to Fidelity, the majority of companies now offer financial security programs to their employees External Site. Additionally, employees want this financial help. Nearly 84 percent of workers surveyed by MetLife External Site say that a financial well-being program, financial planning, education, workshops and tools are either must-haves or nice-to-haves. When their employer offers a financial wellness program, employees stressed about finances are even more likely to use it.
“I believe pretty strongly in financial wellness, but I believe it plays hand in hand with everything else employers try to do from a well-being standpoint,” says Ashley Maher-Widen, Wellmark’s own on-site retirement counselor. “You can definitely see a correlation between people who are physically healthy and mentally healthy — they’re also financially healthy.”
Offer an on-site financial counselor
By having a trusted resource at your worksite, you show your employees that financial well-being does matter. A financial counselor that's available for one-on-one meetings with employees emphasizes the importance of decisions like planning for retirement, navigating college tuition expenses and even budgeting for the holidays. This counselor can be available for one-on-one meetings and even help with financial workshops for larger groups.
Offer financial wellness workshops or education
Financial wellness workshops can cover a number of topics from budgeting and how credit works to investing for retirement and documenting wishes through a will and trust.
Maher-Widen points out how providing education on one topic, like budgeting, can help employees with other aspects of financial well-being. “I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t have budgets, which then makes it hard for them to save or work toward other long-term goals like purchasing a home or paying down debt,” she says.
Explore available tools from your company's retirement plan provider
Often, your retirement plan provider offers free calculators, tools, tips and more at no additional cost. Tap into these expert resources and encourage your employees to reference them before making any big financial decisions or during open enrollment.
Have questions or want to learn more about Wellmark's well-being and consulting services? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Send Email, and we'll connect you with a Wellmark representative to learn more.