For many employers, financial wellness can be an ambiguous concept that is difficult to understand and even harder to create in the workplace. That’s why we’re proud to have participated in a webinar by Nava Benefits, Financial Wellness; more than just a buzzword, alongside Betterment at Work and Northstar to unpack what financial wellness is, and what employers can do to help their teams achieve it in 2022.
In the words of one benefits expert on the panel— financial plans are life plans. In a time of rising economic volatility, employees need benefits that can set them up for success and adequately shield them from the financial stress that can result from increasing inflation, medical debt, student loans, and much more.
Employees are more often than not overwhelmed by the complexity of financial planning, and as a result do not feel empowered to make use of the benefits available to them. Financial literacy plays a foundational role in this. Nationwide, states are beginning to pass new legislation which requires a personal financial literacy class be completed by high school, but such educational resources are often difficult to access in the workplace. In a time where only 9% of employees have a real understanding of their health benefits, and 88% wish they had also been required to take a personal finance course themselves, employers need new ways to drive financial literacy in the workplace. Here are a few:
Educate your employees on how to plan for their futures
Test out free “financial literacy courses” that are available online to see what resonates, and add the links to your company’s intranet page. Consider including other resources such as podcast recommendations, or book selections that may be of interest for an employee book club to highlight. Depending on your budget, consider reimbursing employees for financial literacy courses they take in person, or online.
If you have an Employee Assistance Program, ask your provider to point out tools or learning materials that may be located on the member site. Financial organizations you partner with to offer retirement programs may include educational sessions to your workforce as part of their services, either one on one or in a group setting.
Financial concerns drive lost productivity. By demonstrating this awareness, and support, you may impact a strong return on investment by decreasing downtime, as well as retaining and attracting talent.
Offer benefits that meet a wide variety of needs
Both financial literacy, and wellness, have different meanings across employee demographics. Today’s diverse workforce has a variety of life stages, backgrounds and needs across health and financial benefit programs. When building a benefits strategy, broaden the options to address as many situations as possible.
Ask your employees questions about what they value most, and where you can, offer them decision-making tools that both provide education and help focus choices on individual goals. Consider employees who have student debt, are planning for retirement, or have high out-of-pocket medical costs. When you show up for employees in the moments that matter, you set the stage for them to achieve health and financial wellness.
To watch the full Nava Benefits webinar, Financial Wellness; more than just a buzzword, see here.