First, what is financial wellness, and how can it be defined?
In the Benify e-book Financial Wellness: The Topic You Can’t Afford to Ignore, financial wellness is defined as:
- The freedom to make life choices
- The ability to survive and thrive in challenging times
- Control over day-to-day finances
- Having the resources to plan for the future
Wellbeing and Your Finances
The term financial wellness is made up of two words that are intrinsically linked. Think about it - it’s unlikely an individual can experience high levels of wellbeing if stressed about their finances.
A 2017 Workplace Benefits Report by Bank of America revealed that the top three financial stress factors are:
- Saving for the future – 67%
- Paying monthly bills – 57%
- Credit card debt – 42%
However, the financial impacts of COVID-19 have done little to reduce people’s financial worries. A recent consumer survey reveals that 54% of Europeans across all age groups have lost income due to the crisis and 47% say that the pandemic has negatively impacted their financial wellbeing. In fact, 47% of households with children say their bills are increasing at a higher rate than their income, compared with 38% of households without children.
Why Employers Should Care
The financial wellness of employees might seem like a private matter for individuals, but the financial stress and hardship of your employees can have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line.
Pre-COVID-19, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey revealed that 53% of employees reported that stress caused by their finances regularly interferes with their ability to focus and be productive at work. Now, with even greater financial uncertainty due to the pandemic, the number of people who say they are stressed by their finances will have increased dramatically.
Besides improving productivity and profit margins, supporting the financial wellness of your employees is also the right thing to do.
Supporting Employee Wellness
One of the most effective ways of supporting employee wellbeing is through your benefits offering. And a benefits plan with a particular emphasis on financial wellness support is the way to go.
However, in order for a company’s benefits offering to have a positive impact on employee financial wellbeing, it needs to be beneficial to each individual. And that’s the trick. Every employee has their own preferences and needs depending on what financial stage they are in and whether they’re a baby boomer, a Millennial, or Generation Z.
A Personalized Offer
Today, your ability to address each generation by personalizing your benefits offering is crucial. So, how do employers do that? By catering to the needs of the individual. How? By giving each employee the flexibility to choose from a range of financial wellness options which are most beneficial to them.
This is where a flexible benefits model is most useful. A flexible benefits plan enables companies to address and support the financial wellness of each employee by ensuring every individual’s needs are met. A flexible benefits plan created by the employer allows employees to select from a variety of pretax offerings to create a customized benefits package that best fits their requirements. For example, your offering may allow employees to choose a preferred supplier or select the pension or insurance that best suits them.
Research shows that financial counselling services and tools aimed at budgeting, saving, and investing is definitely something employees want – with 86% of those surveyed saying they would participate in a financial education program provided by their employer. So, think about which financial wellness services can you offer as part of your flexible benefits plan.
In summary, a flexible benefits model enables companies to address and support the financial wellness of each employee by ensuring every individual’s needs are met.
Want to learn more? Download Benify’s e-book Financial Wellness: The Topic You Can’t Afford to Ignore.