How to Promote Financial Wellness with Employees: The Workforce Institute Weigh-In

The Workforce Institute Weigh-In for July 2022 explores how to support employees’ financial wellness and dives deeper into the discussion, in response to a recent episode of the People Purpose Podcast. This month, our advisory board members’ responses are a bit longer as they cover this critical topic.

The Workforce Institute Weigh-In for July 2022: What can you do to promote financial wellness among your employees and help them improve their financial wellbeing?

“I’d address three audiences, with respect to financial wellbeing: 1) People who are in trouble: Some employees will have gotten themselves into big financial trouble, and they probably need personalized help via some kind of employee assistance plan (EAP). 2) Young employees early in their careers: For young employees, having some financial guidance as part of onboarding would be helpful. This could involve actually doing things like setting up saving plans, not just in theory. 3) General advice for all employees: One could potentially provide all kinds of sound advice for people on how to manage their money, and certainly encouraging wise financial management is always a good thing. Of these three, it’s group one where the biggest issue lies, and it’s group two that would be the easiest to have an impact on. I don’t think group three is a priority, but it’s a nice thing to offer.” — David Creelman, CEO, Creelman Research

“The most significant thing you can do to promote financial wellbeing among your employees is to pay them an equitable, living wage. With inflation driving up the basic expenses of living, the cost of living is rising and becoming unattainable for many. It is essential to monitor the data on this and make adjustments where necessary and affordable to the organization for the financial wellbeing of your employees. Another option for financial wellbeing is an emergency fund, which allows an employee to borrow from a pool of funds or receive a payroll advance for personal emergencies. Some things you can do to promote financial wellness is encourage participation and thoroughly explain your retirement plan to employees. Many do not understand the benefits of saving for retirement or how to maximize the investment options within their plan. Additionally, you can also provide financial planning support as part of your benefits and perk offerings. This support will help employees learn how to budget, save, reduce expenses, and plan for future events such as buying a car or going on a vacation. Anything you can do as an employer to help your employees be financially stable and to support them through financial hardship or setback will go a long way to not only ensure wellness and wellbeing, but to also ensure physical, mental and emotional health, higher productivity, and greater retention.” — Sarah Morgan, chief excellence officer, BuzzARooney, LLC

“It is difficult for employees who are not making a living wage to even think about financial wellness, because they are trying to meet just their basic needs — paying rent, buying food, transportation, and even childcare. For many, the best help they can get when it comes to financial wellness is to build skills that increase their probability of getting a raise, a promotion, and, for some, a second job or additional gig work. Sometimes, we overlook the simplest want of our employees: having enough money to pay for our most basic needs. We should support our people to help them reach their goals and thrive in their careers.” — Dr. Chris Mullen, executive director, The Workforce Institute

“Financial wellness not only has an impact on employee wellbeing, but also on business results, as high levels of stress can reduce productivity and lead to absenteeism. As a supervisor, it’s critical to learn how to promote the financial wellness of your team. Encourage employees to use the resources available through your organization. These may include financial advice through the EAP, seminars on budgeting or saving, employee discounts and benefits programs, and company benefits, such as savings plans. Many employees may not be aware of these resources, so be sure to educate them and encourage them to use them. Moreover, any financial wellbeing plan must have four parts: diagnosis, design, communication, and follow-up; and must include all those company activities aimed at favoring the lives of your workers. Support your collaborators in executing their personal financial and savings goals in the short, medium, and long term.” — Ivonne Vargas, award-winning journalist and bestselling author, ¡Contrátame! (Hire Me!)