Workplace Financial Help and Wellness Features
- Comprehensive credit and housing counseling services
- Budget review and analysis
- Personal financial crisis solutions
- Life stage educational resources
- Self-paced online courses focusing on budgeting, credit score improvement, home ownership and more
Why Your Employees Need Workplace Financial Help
If you’re the kind of leader who pays attention to “warning signs,” there’s probably one glowing right outside your office door.
More than half the U.S. workforce admits they’re walking on a ledge with their finances and the evidence is building that they’re about to step off – and that was all before COVID-19 disrupted incomes and job security.
Household debt in the U.S. has gone up for 21 straight quarters, reaching a record high of $14 trillion in 2019, or $1.3 trillion more than it was in the crash of 2008.
- Credit card debt also hit a record level in 2019, growing to $1.088 trillion.
- Consumers paid $122 billion in credit card interest – not goods or services, just get-nothing-in-return interest — in 2019, a $20 billion increase in just two years
- More than half of American workers say they break even or spend more than they make each month
Those first three points are scary, but the last one – more than half of American workers are broke at the end every month – is frightening. Households, like businesses, need to run on a profit or everybody is out of sorts. Too many people, especially those with families, are relying on credit cards to fund their everyday lives.
Employees know this. PwC’s most recent Employee Financial Wellness Survey said 59% of workers named financial problems as the #1 cause of stress in their lives. Part of every workday is spent figuring out where the money’s going to come from to pay off credit card debt, make rent or avoid having their car repossessed. That’s a lot of mental energy wasted, not doing your job.
Problems like this are why companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), which address personal problems that interfere with an employee’s job performance. When 60% of your employees are stressing over finances, it’s interfering with job performance.
It makes sense that your EAP should include – maybe emphasize! – a Financial Wellness Program.
Top 3 Benefits of Employee Financial Wellness Programs
Some people judge their financial wellness based on the size of their house; the car they drive or the clothes they wear, regardless of whether they can afford the show they’re putting on.
Financial wellness is about managing your money successfully, not showing off for the Joneses.
We wish Mom and Dad had taught us that growing up, or at least encouraged us to take some courses on personal finance in college, but neither one happened. A recent financial literacy test graded adults on calculating interest, the effect of inflation and investment risk. Baby Boomers got the highest grade, a C. Their children, most of whom are Millennials, got an F.
How would your employees do? If the answer is somewhere between a C and an F, it might be time to look into a Financial Wellness Program of your own. Here are three reasons why.
Attract and Retain Employees
Jobs are where most of us get the income to stay ahead of our bills. A Financial Wellness Program teaches employees to budget, save, invest and live on the income they’re earning.
They show us how to manage the money we have so we stay ahead of our bills.
If an employee falls behind, it will introduce them to ways to eliminate debt through credit counseling, debt management, debt settlement and other ways to consolidate and control debt.
Get a reputation as a workplace that helps workers stay ahead of bills and it will make retaining them easier and could be the little edge that attracts talent to you and not your competition.
Improve Employee Productivity
If “showing up” is 90% of the job, employees suffering financial stress are a real problem for your company.
A study at Boston College found that financially stressed employees were tardy more often and missed twice as many days of work as unstressed employees.
The work they leave undone could be the reason your company falls short of production goals. A 2017 study by Mercer, a global human resources consulting firm, estimated the business cost of stress at $250 billion per year. With household debt growing substantially the last two years, that business cost has probably soared as well.
If employees could use the Financial Wellness Program to offer a plan to eliminate debt, their focus could go back to the job at hand, rather than how to avoid another call from a debt collector.
Reduced Strain on Internal Resources
We all have been in an office with someone who’s stressed and seen how it affects everyone else in the room. It’s awkward, at the very least. No one wants to confront the person under stress, but it’s very hard not feel their discomfort or distraction when you’re working on a project.
A Financial Wellness Program, especially one that respects the privacy and confidentiality of the situation, gives the employee a place to go and unload their financial problems. They can speak with experts on personal finances that help them get back on track.
Seeing their confidence restored and a smile back on their face makes working together easier and a lot more comfortable.
About 80% of companies—large and small – have an Employee Assistance Program, but many of them are just coming around to adding a Financial Wellness element. Get ahead of the game. Help your employees remove the stress of financial problems.
The warning signs are out there. Don’t ignore them.
NA. (2019, July 18) Market Snapshot: Third-Party Debt Collections Tradeline Reporting. Retrieved from https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/research-reports/market-snapshot-third-party-debt-collections-tradeline-reporting/
Ortegren, F. (2019, November 6) An Unsettling Look into the History of Credit and Financial Literacy in America. Retrieved from https://www.listwithclever.com/real-estate-blog/history-debt-to-income-ratio/?utm_campaign=personal-finance-bulk-dti-v1
Hoyt, A. (2017, August 22) Why Hardly Anyone Uses Employee Assistance Programs. Retrieved from https://money.howstuffworks.com/why-hardly-anyone-uses-employee-assistance-programs.htm
Francis, A. (2017, August 16) Financial Stress Could Cost US Employers Up To $250 billion In Lost Wages Annually, Finds New Mercer Survey. Retrieved from https://www.mercer.com/newsroom/financial-stress-could-cost-us-employers-up-to-250-billion-in-lost-wages-annually-finds-new-mercer-survey.html
Ward, G. (2017) Financial Wellness Essay Collection. Retrieved from https://www.soa.org/globalassets/assets/files/resources/essays-monographs/financial-wellness/2017-financial-wellness-essay-ward.pdf