Only 17 states require financial education in high schools, leaving many adults illiterate on how to manage their personal finances later on in life. Basic financial concepts like debt, emergency savings, retirement readiness, and budgeting can seem impossible to grasp to fresh graduates, young adults, or anyone without a solid financial background. This translates to more employees being stressed because they simply do not know how to budget and organize their finances. As an answer to this problem and the rising demand, employers and organizations have started to offer employee financial wellness programs.
Financial wellness programs are designed to educate employees on how to most effectively manage their personal finances. Most people in their lifetimes will experience some financial difficulties, but might find it hard or even embarrassing to ask for help. These programs remove the stigma around financial struggles, and “normalize” this aspect of our lives. When employees see colleagues facing similar problems it can help them feel supported and motivated, therefore building a company culture of financial wellness.
Financial wellness vendors can differ in the way they operate, either through personal coaching, workshops, or by implementing the use of technology. Organizations need to assess what financial issues their employees are dealing with and match with a vendor that is most suitable to the size and needs of their organization.
Vendors typically cover a wide range of services, with some of the most reported benefits listed as:
The definition of financial well-being is described as being able to meet current and ongoing financial obligations, feeling secure in your financial future, and being able to make choices that allow you to enjoy life. Financial stress has a direct impact on physical health, relationships within the workplace and personal ones, productivity at work, and work attendance.
For employees, financial well-being means being debt-free and stress-free. By implementing these programs, organizations are empowering their employees to feel confident in their ability to make the right financial decisions. Those who have used financial wellness programs have reported better mental health, lower stress, better physical health and are overall more optimistic about their financial future.
Financial stress has a negative impact not only on employees but corporations as well. The stress felt by employees will reflect on the company’s spending due to higher healthcare plan use, increase of absenteeism and productivity in the workplace, and lower retirement savings.
On the other hand, appreciation for salary and benefits, easier recruitment, and overall increased satisfaction with the organization is commonly reported when financial programs are incorporated. It has been shown that after improving the financial wellness of employees, employees have less unplanned absences and have an increased loyalty to their employer.
For these reasons, it is smart for organizations to consider incorporating and investing in a financial wellness program.
Financial wellness programs are not simple accounting programs, they offer so much more. For employees, these programs can produce life-changing habits and improve their financial well-being. For employers, these programs can offer a great return on investment and improve the company’s performance on many metrics.