Financial Wellness In The Workplace: Empowering Employees And Owners

Written by: Brady Drake

Photo by Ono Kosuki

As more and more business owners offer retirement and health care benefits to their employees, the question is: What else can I do? This isn’t purely altruistic; while employers do want to help employees live well, benefits are also critical to a company’s success.

85% of Americans are nervous about their financial lives, and 65% lose sleep over money. This spills into the workplace, where people spend an average of three work hours per week on personal financial matters. The next generation of benefits packages address overall “financial wellness,” which teaches employees to manage debt, save for emergencies, and prepare for the future. Initiate a financial wellness program to:

Attract, engage, and retain employees with enhanced benefits

In a competitive employment marketplace, a financial wellness program stands out. A complete wellness program goes beyond traditional benefits. Personalized, live advice from a trained advisor is a valued benefit that can make a job offer stand out. With financial wellness served by their employer, employees are also more likely to remain loyal, reducing turnover. Smart programs also keep employees engaged and incentivized to continue improving their financial wellness, helping them retire comfortably and on-time – which is good for both employee and employer.

Relieve financial stress to improve the bottom line

More than 50% or Americans can’t come up with $500 in an emergency, and 40% have credit card debt they can’t pay off. That’s stressful! Financial wellness programs teach people to set goals and make a habit of building emergency savings and managing debt. Starting automatic transfers and repayment plans relieves stress and makes things better step-by-step. Insurance also relieves the stress of recovery if something does go wrong. Relieving stress can improve employee health and reduce employer health care costs. It can also improve productivity, with less time lost and employees who are more focused on work.

Simplify everyone’s life with easy-to-use online tools

Education, support, and online tools let employees take more control. Believe it or not, the one benefit employees probably want most is education. A financial wellness program serves it in a way they can understand. Even better, they can use online tools to improve their wellness without a lot of employer interaction. Employees learn from and engage with financial experts instead of using their employer as an intermediary, adding a sense of confidentiality and saving employer time. They get a personalized assessment and help in the areas where they need it most, whether that’s retirement, debt management, or credit help.

Keep employees on top of financial wellness with regular check-ups

Financial wellness is NOT set-it-and-forget-it. Needs change over time. At one point employees may need coaching on how to best use their benefits, and at another point they may need financial consulting on personal debt and savings, all with live support from real advisors. Changes can be employee-initiated when they need them, or many employers proactively offer regular one-on-one checkups or group seminars hosted by a financial wellness provider. This ensures all the benefits of financial wellness aren’t lost over time.

Comprehensive financial wellness can’t be achieved overnight, and like physical fitness, it isn’t always easy. But with new offerings like the MY ALERUS Financial Wellness program, employers can help fill the gap many American workers experience, and reap the benefits of a less stressed, more secure workforce.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.