The majority of HR professionals give their employees a financial health rating of “fair” and nearly 20 percent report that their employees are “not at all” financially literate according to a national SHRM survey.
That’s an issue. Because when employees are stressed about money they don’t turn their worry off at work – and the price is paid in lost productivity.
You can help fix the problem. Everyone wins when traditional employee wellness programs are recast in a more holistic, well-rounded way – with financial wellness an important cornerstone.
There is no cookie cutter solution. But if you build a customized program that’s responsive to specific requirements and comfort levels of different employee groups, it can be rewarding and valuable.
First, review your employee demographics to get an idea of what their financial situations may look like. For example, it’s understood that the majority of today’s workforce is comprised of three age groups: Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. Each has different financial stressors and preferences on how they prefer to receive assistance:
- Boomers on the verge of retirement are wondering if they can afford it or even want to retire. If they need to work, they are worried they’ll have a hard time finding a job.
- Generation X can barely think about retirement planning when they’re trying to cover the mortgage, raise kids, save money for college and shoulder responsibilities for aging parents.
- Millennials are burdened by student loan debt while trying to stretch their paychecks so they can live on their own instead of with their parents.
There also are vastly different ways each accesses support. Boomers may be okay with online resources and one-on-one coaching. But Millennials and Gen Xers may want more high-tech resources such as websites offering basic money courses and worksheets to help with budgets, housing or investment planning.
Once a solution has been established, the next step is getting people to partake. You don’t want to target employees, since privacy is a major consideration. Offering options allows employees to engage privately on their own terms. That’s why the online solutions are ideal for individual financial issues, offered in tandem with more on-site sessions on general concerns. And there’s always the potential of offering one-on-one financial counseling or financial wellness coaches to round out your program.