Every generation of worker is struggling with various financial stressors. It’s the top cause of lost productivity. As an HR leader, you want to help find ways to help alleviate the pressure.
Employers are starting to realize that providing their people with a fair and regular paycheck and 401(k) just isn’t good enough to ensure their financial health. And it is their problem.
We’re in the middle of a financial literacy crisis that’s affecting the financial health – and overall wellness – of every generation of worker. Too many just don’t know the ins and outs of managing their money and as a result are facing financial stress that is taking over their attention at home -- and now on the job.
As a result, we’re seeing a growing shift in the perspective of employee benefits – augmenting traditional wellness models with a strategy that’s more well-rounded and holistic, centered on the individual’s total personal health.
It’s a shift that’s good not just for employees. It’s good for the business. Many people just don’t have a lot of expendable income. Worrying about money is the top cause of lost productivity. And financial concerns push healthy behaviors like exercising and eating onto the back burner.
No generation is immune. Baby boomers are still trying to recover from the dent to their retirement savings caused by the Great Recession. Generation Xers are grappling with the emotional and financial toll of simultaneously caring for growing children and their aging parents. For Millennials, student debt is crushing.
And that retirement plan? Many employees borrow against it (not understanding the penalties) for routine expenses that they can’t cover from their paychecks.
Finding a fix starts with recognizing the financial health problem to begin with, and its impact on the employee and the workplace. Once you understand the specific pain points of your employees and the scope of their problems, a variety of tools are available to address them. Some may be employer-sponsored, while others may be offered up as low-cost voluntary benefits.
For example, employee purchasing programs help workers buy big ticket items through payroll deductions – avoiding credit card debt, hidden fees and interest charges. They are voluntary benefits that cost the employer nothing, and are administered through payroll deductions. Other services make low interest installment loans – better than the going rates in the open market – available when employees need to cover unexpected expenses. It helps them avoid predatory payday loans that can compound the financial press.
If your employees are like many, they are living paycheck to paycheck. Helping them out of this bind poses a win for everyone.