Money is a leading cause of stress, and for good reason. Many Americans are saddled with student loan and credit card debt. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, almost one-third of households age 55 or older have no retirement savings at all. Employees who are worried about money may become distracted, sleep-deprived and even sick – not good for their productivity levels. They may also consider quitting in search of a better financial situation.
To improve the situation, many employers have started promoting financial wellness.
Educate employees on their retirement savings plans.
If you offer a 401(k) or other retirement savings plan, make sure employees understand the ins and outs of the plan. Encourage enrollment, but don’t stop there. Encourage contribution and provide ongoing education to help employees take full advantage of all plan features.
Don’t expect to accomplish this simply by dumping documents on employees. The employees might not read, or understand, the information this way. Instead, conduct meetings, offer one-on-one sessions and provide online resources.
Help employees be smart health care consumers.
Another major cause of stress comes from health issues, and because of the high cost of health care, this often leads to more money worries as well. Help employees be smart health care consumers.
This starts with educating them on the available health plans, including health insurance coverage as well as any Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) or other benefit offerings. Employees need the right information to select the most appropriate plans and use them effectively.
Then help employees keep health care costs low throughout the year. In addition to maintaining healthy habits, employees should also be encouraged to use price comparison tools when shopping for health care.
Offer other financial wellness programs and benefits.
The best options for your company will depend on your employees. Older employees, for example, may be more interested in extra help with retirement savings, while younger employees may want to focus on paying off student loans. Others may need help managing credit cards, developing a budget or creating an emergency fund.
Voluntary employee benefits are one way to address these common concerns. Some companies offer student loan repayment plans, for example, where the employer matches the employee’s contributions.
Financial wellness programs can also help. Done online or in-person, in a group or individually, these programs are typically offered by a third-party company and provide employees with the financial coaching they need to take charge of their finances.
Need financial wellness ideas or assistance? Our employee benefits team can help.