The Future of Financial Well-Being in the Workplace
The pandemic has changed how employees and human resources leaders approach financial wellness. But in what ways exactly? What benefits will help empower workers going forward? What will boost their quality of life and effectiveness at work? Which will best help companies attract and retain top talent?
To answer these and other questions, SoFi at Work partnered with independent research firm Workplace Intelligence to survey 800 HR leaders and 800 full-time employees. The result is The Future of Workplace Financial Well-Being 2022: Employee and Employer Perspectives.
One of the most striking — and worrisome — findings to emerge: Three out of four workers are stressed about financial issues. Equally concerning: Employees are spending more than nine hours per week dealing with financial issues while at work. That’s more than a full day of work each week, which adds up to two weeks of work per year. That loss of productivity negatively impacts both workers and employers. Let’s take a look at more insights from the survey that may help shed light on potential solutions.
The Pandemic’s Effect on Employee Financial Wellness
The past two years have taken a toll on employees’ financial wellness, according to survey results. Half of the employee respondents said the pandemic had worsened their financial situation, and 51% that they were more stressed about their finances last year than ever before.
It’s not completely surprising, then, that 4 out of 10 workers rated their financial well-being as average, poor, or very poor, and 75% currently have at least one source of financial stress. This rang true across all ages and incomes, and from varying industries. In fact, even higher earners were not immune. More than half (57%) of those making more than $150,000 cited at least one source of major financial stress. including worrying about inadequate retirement savings (40%), credit card debt (33%), and not having enough money for basics like food and rent or mortgage payments (29%).
A New Commitment to Financial Health
The spotlight the pandemic has put on financial wellness hasn’t been entirely negative, however. It also appears to have fueled a desire among employees to look more closely at their financial health and take steps to improve it. A full 70% of workers surveyed said they are more focused on their financial well-being in 2022 than ever before. And, an impressive 91% of employees reported that they have financial goals for 2022, including:
• Paying off credit card debt (39%)
• Saving for retirement (38%)
• Emergency savings funds (27%)
• Children’s education (19%)
• Investing (19%)
How well do your financial benefit programs line up with these employee priorities?
Many HR leaders are also prioritizing financial wellness in an effort to stay competitive. A full 94% of HR leaders surveyed said they have a budget for financial benefits, and 75% expected that budget to increase moving forward.
Putting Financial Wellness Benefits First
One of the most surprising findings in our survey was the lengths respondents were willing to go to restore financial wellness through employer benefits. More than two out of three (68%) said they would sacrifice other benefits, including healthcare, flexible/remote work options, mental health benefits, and paid time off, in order to keep their financial offerings.
Workers were also vocal about the types of financial wellness benefits they would like to see their employers add, improve, or expand. An emergency savings program tops the list, with 64% of employees ranking that benefit first, followed by retirement matching funds (64%), financial planning tools (62%), budget planning tools (61%), and homeownership assistance (60%).
Employers surveyed offer some, but not all, of the benefits employees rank highest. Among the top five financial benefits employers said they offer: retirement matching (70%), financial planning tools (69%), access to a financial planner/advisor (63%), financial education, seminars, or courses (61%).
Employees’ increased commitment to financial wellness and their specific needs listed above can help HR pros find new ways to shape their financial wellness offerings and prioritize what employees need and want most to restore their financial and overall well-being.
The Utilization Gap
Despite enthusiasm for improving their financial health and a strong desire for specific financial benefits, more than a third of workers surveyed said they aren’t using their employers’ financial benefits. The reasons they cited included: poor quality benefits (23%), not being sure how to get started (21%), and not being aware of the benefits (19%).
While 78% of employees overall said they’re satisfied with their financial benefits, there was a major difference in satisfaction among workers with different incomes. High-earners were more likely to be happy with their company’s financial benefits than those with more modest salaries. Eight in ten employees making over $200,000 a year said they were very satisfied with their benefits, compared to just 32% of those making less than $60,000 per year.
That response begs the question: As an HR leader, are you offering the right tools to help all your workers improve their financial well-being?
In addition, around half of employees said that their company rarely (or never) communicates with workers about their financial wellness or financial benefits. This suggests that most employers could be doing a better job of making employees aware of all their financial well-being benefits, as well as how to access and utilize them.
The “Future of Financial Workplace Well-Being” survey offers HR leaders insights into their employees’ mindsets. Workers are willing to take charge of their financial health. You can offer support by providing the tools and solutions that will help relieve employees’ financial stress and help boost their productivity and desire to stay at your company for the long run.
Download a full copy of the report and learn more about SoFi’s exclusive benefits and programs that can increase financial literacy and well-being.
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