Promoting financial wellness for employees: Strategies and benefits

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Devin Miller
October 11, 2023

Financial complexities and uncertainties are increasingly common, with many Americans struggling to make ends meet or plan beyond their next paycheck. Our recent SecureSave study found that 38% of respondents had experienced a financial emergency that impacted their work performance over the past six months. 

What’s more, 77% of people said that stress over money made it hard for them to focus at work and negatively impacted their productivity. These numbers are concerning for companies looking to secure and retain engaged, productive employees.

Given such circumstances, it’s become increasingly critical for organizations to help foster financial wellness in employees to support their well-being and productivity. Providing essential financial tools, benefits, and resources is instrumental to these efforts. 

Why is financial wellness so important?

The impacts of financial stress are far-reaching across an individual’s life, spilling over into their physical health, mental well-being, and job performance. Research has consistently shown that financial difficulties can lead to: 

These negative impacts easily bleed into people’s work lives and can impact their ability to focus and accomplish tasks. However, when employees feel financially supported and achieve stability with their finances, the differences are notable. One survey found that 85% of financially healthy employees report being more productive. With fewer distractions from financial concerns, organizations with financially stable employees often experience reduced absenteeism, higher employee engagement, and increased retention rates.

There are several strategies organizations can follow to promote wellness and support their employees’ financial health.

What organizations can do to support employees

The needs and expectations of employees will vary across organizations, but let’s look at some strategies that have proven successful for organizations looking to promote wellness for employee finances.

Provide financial education

No one is born with financial literacy; it’s a learned skill. With only 33% of Americans possessing a working knowledge of things like financial risk, interest, and mortgage rates, the majority of U.S. workers could benefit from more financial education. Developing programs that help employees increase their financial knowledge is an important foundational step for fostering financial wellness. In your financial education program, consider covering topics like: 

  • Budgeting 
  • Smart investing strategies 
  • Savings tactics and recommended types of savings
  • Effective debt management
  • Retirement planning 
  • Details around different types of employee benefits 

This baseline of financial literacy can go a long way toward transforming an employee's financial trajectory.

Offer comprehensive employee benefits

Benefits packages serve as the backbone of an employee's financial wellness. Beyond offering a competitive salary, incorporating robust benefits offerings can afford employees not just tangible financial advantages but also a profound sense of security. Consider offering benefits including: 

  • Comprehensive retirement plans
  • Competitive health and life insurance offerings
  • Emergency savings accounts (ESAs)
  • Flexible spending accounts 
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs)

Making it easier for employees to adopt healthy financial strategies will also help promote their financial wellness in the long run. Some useful additional resources to support employees’ financial goals include: 

  • Automatic payroll deductions
  • Employer-matching contributions for ESAs 
  • Incentive programs like profit sharing, rewards programs, and health and wellness stipends

Encouraging employees to set clear financial goals and providing tools to work towards those goals more easily can be instrumental in helping them become financially stable. 

Give employees access to personal finance tools and resources

The easy access and affordability of digital finance tools makes them a valuable addition to employees’ financial toolboxes. Not only can personal finance apps simplify financial management, but they can help people keep better track of their spending and monitor progress towards their financial goals. Consider offering employees access to finance apps like Mint, Fidelity Retirement Score, Robinhood, and SecureSave to help with activities including:

  • Expense tracking
  • Setting and monitoring financial goals 
  • Trading and investment
  • Retirement and financial planning 
  • Emergency savings

Catering to the specific needs of employees can help turn financial challenges into achievable tasks.

Provide financial wellness programs and workshops

Organizing workshops covering topics like managing debt, investment strategies, and retirement planning can help demystify the often intimidating world of finance. Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Partner with financial experts advisors to design and/or deliver effective, relevant content for your program
  • Make sure to address a broad range of financial topics — from budgeting basics to advanced investment strategies — that cater to diverse needs and varying financial literacy levels
  • Combine different modalities to cater to diverse learning styles, including workshops, one-on-one counseling, online seminars, and tools

Cultivate a supportive work environment

Historically, money matters have often been regarded as taboo, making discussing finances secretive and even shameful, especially at work. Establishing an organizational culture that destigmatizes financial discussions can have profound benefits. Start by modeling financial transparency within your own organization, from quarterly business reviews to regular reports on business objectives and key results (OKRs).

Beyond internal transparency around company finances, resources that can be instrumental in promoting employee wellness include confidential counseling services and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). EAPs are intervention programs that assist employees in alleviating personal problems that could negatively affect their individual well-being and job performance using tools like assessments, short-term counseling, and referrals to external specialists.

Promote wellness across your employees’ financial health

Fostering employee financial wellness extends far beyond salaries and conventional benefits. Comprehensive strategies that combine financial education, expanded employee benefits, and access to a range of financial resources can help organizations guide their employees toward financial stability and reduced stress. If you’re considering adding new benefits to your employee offerings, SecureSave’s emergency savings program might be a good fit. Learn more here.

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