The Rise of Employee Financial Wellness Programs in the Modern Workplace

Arguably one of the true silver linings of the global health pandemic is the rise of employee financial wellness programs. Much of this has to do with how COVID-19 has practically doubled financial stress among employees. Anxieties about retiring much later than planned, the national economy, and job loss are at an all-time high. It’s no surprise that employees are welcoming financial advice and wellness programs than ever before. “Employers are uniquely positioned to provide relief in many forms, including alleviating financial stress for their employees by revisiting the benefits playbook,” explains chief data officer of John Hancock Retirement, Lynda Abend.

And indeed, Jacksonville Business Journal reports how financial wellness programs have become key parts of how companies have responded to the pandemic’s ill effects. From bonuses and raises to newly created employee hardship funds, many businesses have stepped up to the plate. Other programs include ongoing education about retirement plans, and even company partnerships with service providers who can give employees discounts for work-related services such as home Internet providers.

The 2020 Bank of America Workplace Benefits Report details how 60% of today’s employers feel highly responsible for the financial wellness of their employees – a huge jump from just 13% of employers back in 2013. Furthermore, more and more businesses are seeing retirement plan education and support as just one big piece of the much larger puzzle when it comes to long-term financial stability. In short, apart from the usual financial wellness programs, tomorrow’s employees can look forward to a range of support systems and benefits related to their personal financial wellbeing.

In fact, your employees don’t have to be in the red to benefit from these programs. Some employees have fared better than others amid the largest crisis of the century. And while they can certainly be considered luckier than most, they also face different challenges to their long-term financial wellness. Marcus outlines how lifestyle inflation is always a potential problem for anyone who’s climbing up the corporate ladder. Many workers often naturally fall into more expensive spending habits and patterns the moment they get raises or promotions. Crisis or no crisis, this can be highly detrimental to their long-term financial health. So if you’re creating your own company’s plans for developing your own financial wellness programs, it would be wise to take lifestyle inflation into account, especially if you want to hold on to some of your most ambitious, resourceful, and driven employees that have contributed so much to your business over the years.

It’s no secret that the American financial system can be a complex maze to navigate. And this situation has been further exacerbated by the economic effects brought about by COVID-19. At the same time, if you’re a business owner, the current situation presents many opportunities to show your employees that your business is worth their loyalty and commitment. It’s up to you to ensure that you don’t get left behind because if you don’t act now, other companies will offer your best talent financial wellness programs that will be aligned with their long-term vision. Losing talent is the last thing you want, so invest in their financial wellness, and it will pay dividends in the future.

This blog is printed with permission.

About the Author: Stacey Richardson is a freelance writer who is interested in the changing trends of the workplace. She hopes her articles interest managers and employees alike. In her free time she loves to hike and play chess.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.