Is a Financial Wellness Plan Right for Your Company in 2019?
One of your main goals as an HR manager or small business owner is to attract and retain your best employees. As healthcare costs continue to skyrocket, your employees are being forced to share more and more of that this expense. You will need figure out a way to help them with this added financial burden.
More and more companies are turning to financial education to help their employees better understand their finances and deal with not only these increased benefit expenses, but their own financial future. Financial wellbeing plans are now one of the common benefit programs that most employers are setting up to help educate their employees.
Employers are Taking Notice
According to Prudential’s 10th annual Survey of Employee Benefits, “the percentage of employers offering financial wellness programs rose to 83 percent, up from 20 percent in the survey two years earlier. An additional 14 percent of employers say they plan to offer these programs in the next one or two years.”
The survey includes responses from nearly 800 decision makers for group insurance benefits at U.S. businesses with at least 100 full-time employees.
Here’s How Most Financial Wellness Plans Work
A financial education plan is essentially an education program that provides your employees with the relevant information, tools, resources, and support to accomplish the following:
- Balance covering recurring expenses
- Save for retirement
- Manage assets
- Climb or stay out of debt
- Purchase a home
- Set up a will
- Save for college education
- Pay back student loans
One of the attractive features of these programs is flexibility. You have the control to offer as many of these educational programs as you want, based on the needs of your employees. You can setup online classes, one on one financial planning, group workshops, worksheets, templates, off-site seminars, counseling, and much more.
Why You Should Consider Putting a Plan Together
According to the 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Study, with responses from 1,600 full-time employees:
- 52 percent of workers overall are stressed about their finances. The younger the worker, the more likely they are worried: 64 percent of millennials said they are stressed about their finances.
- 46 percent of workers spend three or more hours during the workweek dealing with or thinking about financial issues.
- 45 percent said their finance-related stress had increased over the last 12 months.
These numbers show us the effects of financial worry and stress on the workplace, as well as the opportunity all employers have to offer some form of assistance. And since most employees are concerned about their finances, a workplace-sponsored wellness program is a valuable benefit.
The advantages and benefits of implementing a finance education program are clear. Employees without the distraction of financial worry will be more focused, less distracted, and more productive at work.
Why Your Employees Will Benefit from Finance Education
From a cost/benefit perspective, adding another benefit program or mandatory course is not always the easiest thing to do. You and your employees are busy, and the program takes time and commitment to be successful. So, why should employees care? Why should they pay attention when you rollout your financial wellness plan?
Here are some of the benefits your employees will enjoy with a financial wellness plan:
- Less stress and anxiety about their financial future
- More clarity surrounding their retirement plan
- A general feeling of being healthier and happier
- Ability to potentially retire earlier
A comprehensive financial wellness program has the potential to deliver these benefits to your employees if it is designed and rolled out properly. It can be a win-win for both your company and your staff. However, there are some challenges and hurdles to be aware of before you decide to implement this benefit plan.
Factors to Consider and Common Hurdles
Setting up a financial wellness plan takes time, resources, financial investment, and 100% support from upper management. If your company doesn’t have someone to take control and manage the program from start to finish, the plan will most likely not be a success.
Another factor to consider is that your employees will most likely want tactical, one- on- one advice. However, it might be easier and more cost- effective to provide them with a strategic, one-size-fits-all model. The reality is that each of your employees will have different goals, and it is essential to consider the diversity of the circumstances.
Employees who are in their 20’s may not think about investing for their retirement just yet. However, they are extremely concerned about paying off their student loans, mortgages, and car payments. Your employees in their 40s and 50s will have the exact opposite set of goals in mind. Diverse goals and needs are extremely important as you consider whether a financial wellness program is right for your company.
Here’s the First Step
There are a lot of factors to consider even before you decide to move forward with a finance education plan for your employees. First, survey your employees. Their wants and needs should be your guide as you design them a financial wellness plan.
Keep in mind that employees may not be willing to disclose their personal financial information or goals with you, regardless of your intentions. Keep the questions open- ended with multiple answers. Also, make sure they know the survey is 100% confidential with the sole purpose of providing them with a financial education plan that suits their needs.
Survey Question Example: (Question) I feel confident that my current retirement plan will provide my family with a comfortable living upon retirement.
(Answers) (A) Very Confident (B) Somewhat Confident (C) Not very Confident (D) Not confident at all.
Questions like these will help you prepare and implement the most thoughtful and beneficial financial wellness plan for your company. Unlike a lot of employee medical insurance plans, a cookie-cutter approach, will not work with a financial wellness and education program.
To get you started, here is a sample financial wellness survey that you can offer your employees. Or, you can use it to create your very own.
If you have any questions about creating a financial wellness plan or would like more information, please contact your benefit specialists at Benefit Administration Company here.
Financial Wellness Survey