How Employers Can Impact Employee Financial Wellness

Employees who are under financial stress can have a negative impact on an employer in many ways. They may show up to work distracted, for example, which could mean they’re less productive or more likely to make mistakes. They may become agitated more easily, which can lead to other workplace issues. They may even take more sick days, either due to stress (and resulting physical problems) or because they have to leave to handle financial issues.

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There are a lot of ways that employers can have a positive impact on an employee’s financial well-being beyond simply providing a paycheck. Any of these items could help employees to get on better financial footing or help to ease concerns that may be weighing on their mind.

How Employers Can Positively Impact Employee Financial Well-Being

Here are some ways an employer could help with employee financial wellness:

  • Offer health insurance with affordable premiums. Healthcare expenses are a major concern for a lot of employees. Employers that offer comprehensive healthcare benefits can help to alleviate some of that concern. This could also apply to other types of insurance, like dental, vision, disability, etc. Having insurance can alleviate many types of financial concerns.
  • Offer financial counseling. This might be debt or credit counseling. Or, it could be elder care counseling. Or, it might be tax advice or a session with a financial adviser. There are a large number of counseling options that employees may not know where to find otherwise.
  • Offer retirement plan options. Simply having options like a 401(k) can help employees save and relieve the stress associated with saving for retirement. Employers that also offer a contribution match are making an additional investment that can reduce employee financial stress. Some employers are opting to have 401(k) plans that automatically enroll employees (with an opt-out rather than opt-in) and automatically increase the percent of the employees’ pay that is invested each year.
  • Offer other types of training that are related to money, such as simple courses on budgeting, investing, avoiding fraud, debt reduction, or estate planning. These types of training could, of course, be sourced from a third party that has expertise in the field.
  • Offer discounts or free sessions for local financial services, such as fee-only investment advisers. Or offer discounts on other expensive items, such as child care, gym memberships, and the like.
  • Have information available for employees regarding the financial services available both through the employer and locally.
  • Offer benefits that have a direct financial impact, such as tuition reimbursements or student loan payment benefits.
  • Offer more paid leave of absence options. While it may not immediately spring to mind, a paid leave of absence—even short term—can allow employees to handle small emergencies or family issues that arise without having to fear that the issue will cost them their job or their ability to make ends meet. This alone can allow small situations not to become worse and can alleviate financial concerns for short-term issues.

By assisting employees so they have a better financial situation, employers can reduce employee stresses related to finances. This stress reduction can improve employee satisfaction, reduce absences, and even improve productivity.