Today, you can ask anyone about finances and you’ll likely discover that they are stressed about money. In fact, according to the Center for Financial Services Innovation,
“Roughly 85 percent of Americans are anxious about their financial lives and that anxiety is directly impacting their work. Financial stress contributes to productivity losses, increased absences and healthcare claims, higher turnover, and costs associated with workers who cannot afford to retire on time. Financial struggles are not limited to particular types of work, specific industries, or salary ranges; financial issues impact employees and businesses across the spectrum.”
In response to this growing issue, many workplaces have helped their employees by offering a Financial Wellness benefit. But, what exactly is “financial wellness”? Truthfully, financials wellness means something different to everyone depending on their situation. Asking a diverse group of people about finances is like asking them for the best ice cream flavor. You will invariably receive a wide range of answers and each one is informed by individual preferences. Financial Wellness is no different: to some it means education, and to others it means budgeting. For many, it means access to emergency funds when disaster strikes.
10 years ago, if you asked a business owner about Financial Wellness programs, a typical response would be, “Yes, I offer a 401(k) plan.” However, financial wellness has evolved significantly beyond a simple one-size-fits-all solution. For example, no one would call providing basic health insurance a “health wellness plan.” Now, offering a retirement plan no longer suffices for Financial Wellness. Today, employees want robust financial tools and resources in a Financial Wellness voluntary benefit. To reference the ice cream analogy, you would not buy ice cream that is only offered in a pistachio flavor. Financial Wellness benefits too should offer a variety of tools and resources to meet each person’s financial wellbeing goals.
MetLife conducted a survey and found that 82% of employees want employers to provide more financial education. Fortunately, employers are listening. Increasingly, employers are offering Financial Wellness benefits as part of overall benefit packages. This is particularly true in the HR Outsourcing landscape where HR companies pool their client’s employees for benefit offerings or provide administrative efficiency and support. Many HR providers, including Axios HR, have added a Financial Wellness program (called FinFit) to their suite of benefits in order to attract and retain businesses and their employees. As we continue to change the concept of Financial Wellness the ultimate outcome remains uncertain, but we can make two predictions: employees will expect businesses to offer Financial Wellness tools as a standard benefit, and that these won’t be your plain old vanilla ice cream.
March 9, 2018
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