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Employee financial wellbeing is at an all-time low: Here are five ways employers can help

As 2023 comes to a close, US employees feel stressed about money more than ever. Whether worrying about day-to-day expenses, planning for retirement, or drowning student loans, it’s more than likely most of your employees are facing some sort of a financial hurdle. A recent study done by Bank of America revealed employee financial wellbeing is at an all-time low. 

What does it mean that employee financial wellbeing is at an all-time low? The first six months of 2023 saw inflation and economic uncertainty rise, increasing financial stress. Although inflation has settled a bit, people still feel its effects. BoA found fewer employees are prioritizing retirement and are focusing on paying off credit card debt and saving for emergencies. 

Here are some other key statistics from BoA’s 2023 workplace wellness report: 

  • 42% of employees feel financially well compared to 57% in 2022
  • 96% of employees feel their employers are responsible for financial wellness
  • Only 2 out of 5 employers offer financial wellness benefits

These stats beg the question, how can employers begin to support the financial wellbeing of their employees? Here are five actionable steps you can take: 

1. Recognizing financial stress

Creating a healthy workplace involves acknowledging the realities of financial stress and its impact on employee wellbeing. It's a critical first step in fostering financial wellbeing at work. Employers can start by recognizing the signs of financial stress through employee feedback mechanisms and wellness surveys. This helps identify the extent of the issue and fosters an environment where employees feel their concerns are heard and valued. This basic acknowledgment can lead to developing more targeted financial wellness programs that address the stressors affecting employees. A workplace that openly discusses and addresses financial challenges signals that the company supports its employees holistically, leading to increased employee engagement and retention.

2. Engaging employees in financial benefit decisions

Direct engagement with employees is crucial when determining which financial benefits to offer. An effective financial wellness program for employees starts with listening. Employers should seek to understand their team members' financial needs and preferences. Utilize surveys, suggestion boxes, and forums to gather insights into the types of financial support employees value the most, whether it's help with student loans, retirement planning, or saving for healthcare. This feedback should then inform the development of a tailored financial wellness plan. By providing the financial benefits that employees actually want, employers demonstrate their commitment to the team's financial health, fostering a culture of support and wellbeing.

3. Expanding financial benefits

Employers can significantly enhance employee financial wellness by offering robust financial benefits. These could include HSA matching, which encourages employees to manage healthcare expenses proactively, and student loan assistance programs, which provide much-needed relief in managing educational debts. Additionally, retirement contributions are a fundamental aspect of financial security, and employers can play a pivotal role by either matching contributions or providing thoughtful retirement plans. A software to budget, track spending, debt, and more, can also be a game changer for employees. 

These benefits help employees manage their current financial situation and contribute to their long-term financial stability, underscoring the employer's investment in their overall wellbeing.

4. Educating employees on financial management

Investing in employees' financial education is an investment in the company’s future. By providing comprehensive financial wellbeing resources, employers can equip their workforce with the knowledge and skills needed to manage their finances effectively. Education can come in various forms, such as workshops on budgeting, seminars on investment strategies, and one-on-one financial coaching. Tailor these initiatives to suit the diverse financial literacy levels within a company. Empowering employees with financial knowledge helps alleviate immediate financial stress and paves the way for their long-term financial independence and security.

5. Collaborating with financial wellness experts

A partnership with a financial wellness provider like Your Money Line can offer employees a robust support system for their financial concerns. By integrating top financial wellness programs into the workplace, employers can give employees access to expert and empathetic financial advice. Leading solutions also offer software to guide the employee through everyday budgeting and savings decisions as well. Partnering with a trusted provider ensures that employees have a reliable resource to turn to, which can enhance their confidence in managing their financial lives and contribute to a healthier, more productive workplace environment.