Employee financial wellness has become a company benefit buzzword. Employees expect financial wellness as part of their benefits package, and employers realize that having such benefits will help their bottom line.
Unfortunately, what financial wellness really means versus what companies package as financial wellness does not always match. For example, simply offering short term loans, while helpful in the right circumstances, is not financial wellness.
Holistic, proactive financial wellness solutions contain digital interactive education, coaching, counselors, and/or workshops. Although this is a good start, an impactful financial wellness program combines these with other benefits to create a truly integrated holistic solution.
A 2018 Varo Money study shows that 85 percent of adults feel stressed about money, and one-third of adults feel stressed about money constantly. The same study shows that one-third of millennials have no idea what their finances will be from month to month.
The surest way to help employee financial stress is through education.
With financial wellness education, employees learn to plan for emergencies, use all the employer benefits at their disposal, and increase their overall health.
As this happens, employees become more focused, productive, and loyal to your company while decreasing such things as absenteeism and presenteeism.
Educational benefits should include one or more of the first four, as well as a combination of other benefits, including:
1. Digital interactive financial education: Online, interactive education on topics relevant to your employees from budgeting to emergency savings to identity theft to retirement. These education components should be interactive, adaptive, and customizable. Check out our award-winning platform here.
2. Financial coaching: Provide financial information about specific topics via telephone or online chat. A comprehensive financial wellness solution like Enrich should include this feature.
3. Financial counselors: Provide financial guidance about specific topics via telephone or online chat. A comprehensive financial wellness solution like Enrich should include this feature.
4. Financial education workshops: These are sometimes called lunch and learns and are often provided as a free service by local credit unions or financial advisors.
5. Financial planning: Provided by Certified Financial Planners (CFP) for those with higher incomes. This benefit often appeals to higher-level executives.
6. 529 plan comparisons: Help employees find the best 529 plans for their situation, based on where they live, fees charged, and historical performance
7. Credit and debt counseling: Provide education to employees currently dealing with credit or debt issues
8. Student loan counseling: Assist employees with getting approval for income-driven repayment plans, forbearances, and deferments on student loans
9. Financial aid guidance: Provide parents and/or students FAFSA guidance and strategic advice regarding college financial aid
Employer Matching Benefits
Offering matching benefits is proven to attract good employees. Recent data shows that 75 percent of new hires look at a 401(k) when deciding to take employment with a company.
When a company adds a match to the 401(k), retention, the second reason to consider a matching benefit, increases as well. Finally, companies with a matching program receive tax benefits.
Though the 401(k) match is the most common offering to employees, there are others to consider, including:
10. 401(k) plan matching: There are many different ways to match contributions, though approximately 40 percent of company match programs contribute half of employee contributions up to 6 percent of employee pay.
11. Sidecar savings matching: Sidecar savings accounts are linked to retirement savings, allowing employees to save after-tax contributions in short-term savings while also saving for retirement. Employers that match these savings help employees reach their short-term savings goals faster, thus allowing the opportunity to take full advantage of retirement savings.
12. Student loan repayment contributions: There are several variations of student loan repayment contributions, including a match of student loan repayment directly to paying down the student loan, as well as a match that goes into an employee retirement fund to help the employee build retirement while paying down student debt.
13. 529 plan contributions: Employers contribute funds directly to these college saving vehicles, though, unlike 401(k) matches, this money is taxable.
According to the 2021 Salary Guide, health insurance is the number one insurance offered by employers (81 percent). This is followed closely by dental insurance (71 percent) and vision insurance (63 percent). Most employees expect to have these options.
However, a majority of employees (85 percent) feel that their employers should offer more voluntary insurance benefits that meet their diverse needs. These voluntary insurance benefits can such insurance categories as:
14. Life insurance
15. Pet insurance
16. Legal insurance
17. Disability insurance
18. Adoption and fertility insurance
19. Gender reassignment insurance
20. Accident insurance
21. Long-term care insurance
22. Critical illness insurance
23. Hospital indemnity insurance
24. Travel accident insurance
25. Homeowner’s insurance
26. Umbrella insurance
Employee Financial Assistance
Companies should also contemplate offering financial as part of their financial wellness program. Such financial assistance can range from loans to help when dealing with a financial crisis to assisting with work-related education to help save money.
Here are some to consider:
27. Tuition reimbursement: This provides money to reimburse an employee for college classes taken. This type of reimbursement is typically dependent on course completion and grades.
28. Stipends for professional development: An offering of a specific amount of money for continued education related to the employee’s occupation.
29. Commuting and travel assistance: Financial assistance for things like gas, bus fare, and parking.
30. Relocation assistance: The company will pay a portion of the cost to relocate when taking a job or transferring to another location.
31. Home loan assistance: This can include down payment assistance or an educational component such as homebuyer counseling.
32. Paid sabbatical: Paid leave offering employees time to focus on learning new skills, both personal and professional
33. Short-term employee loans: This prevents employees from going to payday loan providers with astronomically high interest rates.
34. Paycheck advances or early-wage access: Like short-term employee loans, this benefit prevents employees from taking out high-interest loans
35. Workers’ compensation: If it isn’t already required by your state
36. Student loan refinancing: Provide employees with student loan options with lower interest rates. This creates lower student loan payments, which leads to lower employee stress.
37. Medical bill zero-interest financing: This benefit pays off medical debt at zero percent interest.
38. Medical bill negotiation: This benefit negotiates unpaid healthcare bills to lower the amount owed. When put together with zero-interest financing, employees can get out from under high medical bills.
39. Debt negotiation or settlement: Helps employees lower the debt owed and consolidate debt into lower-interest, easier-to-make payments.
40. HSAs and FSAs: Health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts help employees pay for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses not otherwise covered by healthcare coverage programs. Make sure to combine these with a holistic financial education program to teach employees how to use these properly for optimal results.
41. QSEHRA: Similar to an FSA, a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement allows small employers to offer employees a way to be reimbursed for healthcare expenses up to a certain amount each year.
42. Stock options: Provides employees with the option to purchase company stocks at an agreed upon price.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPS) and Other Discounts
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) assists employees in resolving problems that can affect their work performance. Although this type of program began with substance abuse issues, it now deals with everything from financial and legal problems to caring for family members to adoption.
43. Identity theft protection
44. Will preparation
45. Tax preparation
46. Credit score monitoring: this is often included in a good holistic financial wellness platform, like Enrich.
47. Financial account aggregation: A service that consolidates information from many financial accounts in one convenient place
48. Employee discount programs: a good employee discount program can be beneficial to employees, but programs that lack important elements can actually be detrimental to employees.
49. Gym memberships or discounts
50. Discount on mobile phones and service
51. Zero-interest product marketplace: A platform that allows you to purchase items in installments with no interest and no fees.
52. Company car
53. Dependent care accounts or assistance
54. Eldercare accounts or assistance
55. Child care assistance: Partnership with nationwide child care providers who can provide same-day child care for emergency situations
Our Enrich Team has been helping employers set up financial wellness programs for over 10 years. Contact us to help your company set up a program that meets the needs of your employees, providing you with a bottom-line return on investment.
1 - https://b2b-assets.glassdoor.com/benefits-employees-want-most-2017.pdf
2 - https://www.roberthalf.com/salary-guide/
3 - https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2018/10/12/research-shows-strong-job-satisfaction-benefits/