Financial wellness is fast becoming the topic of the day within the workplace. Employers make a significant investment in the health and financial security of their employees hoping that this will enhance productivity and creativity. They understand that the well-being of the organization is directly impacted by the well-being of its employees.
However, there is mounting evidence that many employees, across all ages and occupational levels, struggle with basic financial life skills. Their lives can be stressed by excessive debt, tax issues and budgeting pressures.
In addition, some individuals may experience financial pressures caused by external factors largely beyond their control such as the sickness, incapacity, or unemployment of a family member. In either circumstance, an employee will be hard pressed to excel and reach their full potential.
Lastly, these factors will make it very difficult for employees to save and invest for their future. As time goes by, the opportunity to take advantage of their company sponsored retirement plan and realize the power of compound investment growth is lost, adding to their frustration.
With these concerns in mind, many proactive employers are adding formalized financial wellness programs to their employee benefit menu. They can take a number of forms with varying costs:
- Educational workshops geared toward basic financial literacy.
- Interactive online tools, resources, and video tutorials.
- Access to one on one counseling with a goal of specific problem solving and financial planning assistance.
The best solutions will deliver and balance two important outcomes. On the one hand, they must provide a safe and confidential format for employees to engage. But on the other hand, they also must provide the employer with hard (but anonymous) data by which to measure the level of employee engagement and their success in reaching certain milestones such as:
- Tutorials completed
- Reduced debt
- Increased emergency fund savings
- Increased participation in employer’s retirement plan
Winfred G. Jacob, CFP®
Senior Financial Advisor