As employers, we all have a vested interest in the success and wellbeing of our team members. Our employees create and maintain the fabric of our company’s culture and help power our business successes.
With Financial Literacy Month shining a spotlight on financial stress throughout April, this is an opportunity for employers to revamp their financial education programming for the year ahead, engage their staff in lively discussions on financial health, and begin thinking of new ways to integrate financial literacy throughout their organizations – including their payroll administration program.
A growing problem of financial stress
Employees distracted by financial stress spend much of their workdays dealing with money issues, which can significantly impact their ability to perform in the office.
Employees who worry about money tend to be:
- Absent more frequently
- Less engaged and less productive at work
- Susceptible to high-risk behaviors in their personal lives
Why all the stress? Studies show that more than half of US consumers are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Many Americans cannot find or don’t have the information needed to make smart financial moves, hang on to hard-earned pay, and make smart savings choices. Put simply, your employees may need help gaining access to programs that can manage and improve their financial habits. You can support workers by helping them build on their financial literacy.
Where your payroll program can help.
We are seeing employers powerfully augment their financial literacy programs by infusing financial literacy content directly into payroll programs. In doing so, the employer is not only providing the technology for an employee to manage their flow of money, but encouraging financial wellbeing by communicating best practices, incentivizing employees for setting goals and reaching milestones, and supporting financial planning.
And the payoff on investing in such programs is very real – both for the employee and the employer. A less stressed employee not only leads a higher quality of life, but is also a better teammate in the office.
Key components of a successful payroll program include:
Proactive engagement – Begin engaging new team members during the new hire process. Help them understand their payroll choices, benefits, processes, schedules, and how to take advantage of potential educational and savings options from the start.
Endless Education – Empower employees to make smarter money decisions through periodic trainings, and reinforce prior learnings by delivering quick financial tips and alerts via their payroll management app/portal.
Incentivize Smart Behavior – Once an employee is enrolled, engaged and educated, be sure to reinforce positive behavior through incentives. A simple example could be adding a holiday “Piggy Bank” promotion that encourages moving a portion of their paycheck into savings accounts ahead of the holidays. If that Piggy Bank is filled (to say $100 or $200) in time for Black Friday – the employer provides a small, but meaningful holiday bonus to the savings account.
An end-to-end effort
Financial literacy doesn’t start and end with your payroll program, nor does it revolve around simply having employees “check the box” by completing a corporate training.
This April, help your employees recognize Financial Literacy Month by incorporating financial reminders and education into every aspect of your business. Doing so will help your team think about their financial health in the context of overall wellness—and how it will impact their ability to do their best work, inspire colleagues with their successes, and take the best care possible of their families.
The potential payback for investing in financial literacy truly is a win/win/win.