Benefits and Compensation

Employee Benefits Addressing Financial Wellness Show Care, Drive Retention, Says Research

Replacing employees is expensive. In a time of low employee retention and high turnover, employers are striving to improve programs with a positive impact on employee engagement. “While individual benefits may not drive retention, benefits packages that address employees’ needs demonstrate that a company cares and, in so doing, become a driver of retention,” said Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM180—an online financial wellness service designed to be simple and affordable—in a press release.

According to Gallup, only 33% of American employees are engaged and slightly more than half (51%) report that they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings. The results of a recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey— Influencing Workplace Culture Though Employee Recognition and Other Efforts—indicate that the average cost per new employee hire is $4,129 and the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days. Nearly three-quarters (67%) of workforce management decision makers, according to Gallup, say employee retention is their number one business concern.

“Considering the time and money associated with replacing an employee, it’s not surprising that employers are stepping up their efforts to meet their employees’ needs with, among other things, benefits packages that address the wellbeing of the whole person, instead of just their medical care. Some 38% of employees say they’re more engaged with benefits. And, let’s not forget, engaged employees aren’t only more likely to stay on the job, they’re more productive,” Carla continued.

Among the services increasingly being included in benefits packages are those directed at reducing employee financial stress. According to PwC US’s 2016 Employee Financial Survey, employee financial stress is the highest it’s been during the last 5 years.

“Financial wellness services are a much-welcomed addition to the ‘core’ benefits package most employers offer, provided, that is, that they’re ‘done right,’” Carla concluded.

The following are three qualities that distinguish a financial wellness offering that demonstrates employer care and contributes to employee engagement:

  • Programs that focus on particular areas basically ignore other equally important areas of employees’ financial health. Only a full financial picture ensures employees’ most important issues are identified and addressed.
  • A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t cut it. Each individual’s specific situation needs to be assessed. Only in this way can tailored action steps that are right-sized and doable be provided.
  • Money is a sensitive and emotional subject that is difficult to discuss—especially in a group setting. The right program respects the need for privacy, which empowers participants to discuss their issues without fear of judgement.

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