Top 10 Reasons Financial Wellness is Important in the Workplace
Healthy and committed employees are the backbone of any great business. You want your employees to exercise, eat well, and get plenty of sleep to perform optimally. But their financial wellness and the impact that has on their productivity, focus, and overall well-being also affects your company.
Workplace financial wellness programs are growing in popularity due to the many benefits for employees and employers. You might already be offering free food and foosball, but those perks don’t stack up to the support you can provide employees dealing with financial issues. Providing a comprehensive financial wellness program helps alleviate those concerns and strengthens your workforce.
Choosing what to include in your program can take some time, but once you have a plan it’s easy to implement—especially if you work with the right partner. Here are 10 ways that a financial wellness program will help your employees and your business.
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1. Decreases Distractions and Increases Productivity
According to recent survey results from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), distractions due to financial stress are real and absorb time that should be spent on other tasks. Of the 1,600 full-time workers surveyed, 28% have worried about money at work—sometimes spending up to 3 hours or more dealing with personal financial issues on the job. With the right type of support, these distractions can be minimized.
Quinn Cohane, a marketing manager at SoFi, agrees. “When employees can quickly get answers to their financial questions and receive on-site support when dealing with money problems, they’re less stressed and more focused,” she says. “And that’s a win for them and for the company.”
Related: Workplace Stress Busters – How Employee Wellness Programs Are Supposed To Work
2. Improves Employee Physical Health
There’s a connection between financial and physical health. The American Psychological Association’s 2016 Stress in America Report found that 67% percent of those surveyed revealed that money is a somewhat or very significant source of stress, up 2% from 2015. And that rise in stress has led to a rise in “stress-related symptoms and poor health.” Provide your employees with the support they need now and you’ll reduce health concerns down the line.
3. Decreases Absenteeism
PWC’s survey results indicate that 8% of employees skipped work in the last year to deal with financial concerns. Absenteeism due to financial stress is not only a problem for business productivity—it also means employees are using time off not to take a well-deserved break, but rather to deal with stressful issues. With better financial education and support, workers can spend time away from the office resting and recharging.
4. Reduces Burden of Student Loan Debt
Employees struggling to pay down student debt have difficulty contributing to 401(k) plans and achieving other financial goals, such as buying a house or car. By offering student loan assistance and education, employers can reduce the burden and help employees plan for the future.
SoFi at Work‘s student loan refinancing and student loan contribution benefits help your employees save on their student loans and achieve financial peace of mind. “We developed SoFi at Work to give employers the ability to address student debt in the workplace,” says Cohane. “Student loan repayment benefits are a necessary component of a financial wellness program.”
5. Employees Want It
The evidence doesn’t lie. Employees—particularly millennials—are starting to expect financial wellness programs at work. PwC reveals that 77% of millennials and 73% of Gen-Xers are likely to be attracted to companies that provide better financial planning support.
Other research shows that most employees would like to work for companies that specifically offer student loan repayment assistance and management tools. “Many professionals, especially recent graduates, are learning from their peers and social media how powerful student loan refinancing and repayment can be,” says Cohane. “We’re seeing more people ask their current or prospective employers about programs like SoFi at Work.”
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6. Helps to Clarify Confusing Financial Topics
Many young professionals want to buy their first home, but they don’t know how to save for a down payment or secure a mortgage. New to the workforce, they also struggle to understand financial topics they weren’t taught in school, such as income tax deductions (especially as they get married and have children), the necessity of life insurance, and wealth management and investing. At the same time, older employees might feel overwhelmed by the financial options available to them. “With educational resources and access to experts through a financial wellness program, employees can find the information they need from vetted and trusted sources,” says Cohane.
7. Builds Loyalty
Employees who feel valued and taken care of are more committed to their employers. According to the PwC study, 54% of all millennials say loyalty to their company is greatly influenced by how much the company cares about their financial health. “When employees want to stay with a company because of the great benefits offered, that means less turnover and a more committed workforce,” says Cohane.
8. Protects Employees
Sometimes health benefits just aren’t enough. In the event of a health emergency, employees need to be prepared for insurance deductibles and other unexpected costs. Solid financial preparations can prevent them from dipping into savings or making hardship withdrawals from 401(k) plans. Those withdrawals can not only damage their prospects for long-term financial stability, but also create an administrative nightmare for HR. Financial wellness programs can provide employees with budgeting support and help in planning for life’s “what ifs,” while also saving the company money.
9. Helps Employees Plan for Retirement on Their Own Terms
The youngest members of the Baby Boomer generation are retiring at the rate of about 10,000 a day, and many are ill-prepared. Support for this demographic is crucial, because many are not only dealing with retirement-related issues, but also with student loans.
“Student loans do still impact Boomers,” says Cohane. “A surprising number are still paying off their own student loans, while others are paying off loans taken out for their children’s education.”
Financial wellness programs can empower employees to make their own decisions about retirement and help them feel in control of their financial futures, thereby reducing the time and money you spend on workforce management. A great tool to show to your employees is the SoFi retirement calculator. This calculator will show employees if they are on track for retirement.
10. Keeps You Competitive
Results of a 2016 survey by Aon Hewitt reveal that 55% of employers already offer support in some form of financial well-being. So, to continue to draw the most qualified talent to your organization, your recruitment strategy should involve promoting your own financial wellness program.
By implementing a program such as SoFi at Work, you’ll put employees on the path to financial greatness. Position yourself as a business that cares about employee wellness in the workplace and you’ll stay competitive when hiring and retaining the best employees.