We are glad to share this guest post from Chris Thompson of Life Canopy.
I need to admit that I’m a huge supporter of wellness initiatives in the workplace. This can include smoking cessation programs, offering discounted gym membership, or rewarding bicycle commuters (you get the idea). While wellness programs aimed at healthier lifestyles can be revolutionary for your workforce, today’s employees are also eager for initiatives relating to financial wellness.
A recovering economy in the wake of financial downturn several years ago left many employees unsure of their financial future. Unfortunately, recent workplace surveys indicate this uneasiness hasn’t subsided any over the past five years:
- The 2016 PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey recently noted 17% of employees admitted that personal financial strain has negatively impacted their productivity at work.
- Bank of America’s 2016 Workplace Benefits Report indicates that 75% of employees feel they are not financially secure.
So, in light of these statistics, what are some low-cost options to promote a healthier financial future among your employees?
1. Hold a “Budgeting 101” day
You don’t need a degree in finance to make a huge impact with your employees. An way to get started is to print out some simple budget templates to pass out at your first gathering. By making a budget (often for the first time), employees can better grasp their household income and expense picture.
Another great step during the first meeting is to have employees write down a couple financial goals. These can range from paying off credit card debt, saving more for emergencies, or saving for the purchase of a car or home.
Above all else, try to remain positive and encouraging. Oftentimes, this is the first guidance an employee has received regarding personal finance. And make sure to slot some time available for private discussions if employees wants you to take a look at their budget or bounce some ideas around.
2. Promote your company’s financial wellness benefits outside of open enrollment.
Answering questions like “How much money should I be saving in my 401(k)?” or “How much life insurance do I need?” during open enrollment can be hectic and might fall on deaf ears. Instead, have a couple times throughout the year where you address one of these questions at a time. Your benefits broker or financial product provider (or both!) would be happy to open the floor for discussion about these issues. They understand these things matter and want to see your employees feel good about their financial future.
You might even consider inviting the spouses of your employees to these meetings as well. We’ve even see employers pick up some six-packs and bottles of wine to create an in-house happy hour to promote attendance. Get creative—your employees will appreciate it!
3. Conduct a confidential financial survey
Take advantage of the many free and/or cheap survey tools out there (like Survey Monkey) to see what financial obstacles or burdens your workforce is currently facing. Let everyone know why you’re sending out the survey (to better tailor the workplace financial wellness programs to their needs) and ask them to be open about what financial stress they’re under.
Ask very specific questions relating to different areas of personal finance. For example, a younger workforce might be more concerned with outstanding student loan debt, while an older population might be more concerned about saving enough for retirement. Hopefully, this insight into your employees’ personal finances will allow you offer education and materials to your employees that have the greatest impact.
Today’s workforce is increasingly turning to their employers for guidance relating to all aspects of health and financial wellness. Be sure you’re offering your employees all the education and resources they crave to make the best decisions for their families.
Chris Thompson is the founder of Life Canopy, a life insurance purchasing platform allowing individuals to quote, apply, and pay for life insurance totally online. Reliance Human Capital Management is proud to partner with Life Canopy to offer creative solutions to individuals as well as employers.