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Financial wellness: Low investment, high-output benefits that offer peace of mind

by Bailey Thomson
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A new study has found that 78% of workers say it is important to get support on financial wellness from their companies, with 61% saying they are more likely to stay at their current job if financial wellness training and resources are offered.

The report was released on Nov. 10 by TalentLMS, a learning management system backed by Epignosis, in collaboration with Enrich and Tapcheck. The findings were based on a survey of 1,000 employees in the U.S., representing a range of industries. In an analysis of the survey, officials said that when it came to financial wellness, retirement planning, investment programs, and emergency savings are the top three areas of interest.

“Financial training and support are low-investment, high-output benefits and, combined with financial wellness products (FSAs, investment options, contribution matching etc.), will help create much needed stability and peace of mind,” says Christina Gialleli, director of People Ops at Epignosis.

Economic stress a widespread concern

The survey painted a picture of financial insecurity for many workers in the U.S. Only 5% of those surveyed said they have met their financial goals. Of those who didn’t meet their goals, 62% said inflation was a primary obstacle for them, and 48% said insufficient income was one of the main obstacles. In addition, only 45% of employees agree that their employer is doing enough to improve their financial wellness.

The report also found that 49% of employees have experienced mental health struggles, and 45% have physical health issues because of money-related stress. Those numbers are higher as workers get older—66% of millennials, 59% of Gen Z, and 47% of Gen X employees say they have experienced mental health struggles due to money-related issues.

Worries about the future are also on workers’ minds; 70% said they are more concerned about their financial wellness due to the possible recession.

An evolving response from employers

The report also outlined the many ways employers are responding to these concerns. The researchers found that companies seem aware of the problem, with 95% saying they feel responsible for employees’ financial wellness. And 98% of employers agree that employee financial wellness has a direct impact on their organizations, most commonly on productivity, engagement, and turnover.

Overall, 73% of employees are getting some level of financial wellness benefits from their employers. In addition, the report found that 51% of employees are receiving financial wellness training from their company, and 73% say that training is helping them feel more safe and secure.

The report lists several steps that companies can take to help reduce financial stress on employees. These include:

  • Match benefits to the needs of workers from different generations. One size doesn’t fit all, the study finds, with millennials preferring financial coaching and baby boomers putting a priority on medical care planning.
  • Provide training and education on financial literacy and money management. The study noted that companies can contribute to financial literacy with coaching, training sessions, apps, and more.
  • Help employees stay on track with financial goals.  Employers should offer tools to help employees with different aspects of managing their income and cope with inflation, debt, and high-interest rates.
  • Offer emergency savings accounts (ESAs). The report suggests that companies provide options to help employees in building emergency funds in addition to retirement plans. Examples include savings programs and dedicated accounts.
  • Offer earned wage access (EWA). This benefit is especially popular with millennials, with 72% of them saying they were more likely to stay longer with their job if on-demand pay is offered. “Offering earned wage access, or EWA, gives employees better control over their earnings, in addition to helping them make ends meet,” the report said.
  • Offer learning resources and guidance on retirement plans and investments. Too many workers still don’t have access to such resources, the report said.

“This new data reveals how important financial wellness is to today’s employees, especially with the financial challenges we are all facing,” said Kris Alban, executive VP at Enrich. “Because of this, employers have a unique opportunity to attract and retain employees by offering financial wellness benefits and education.”

Source : BenefitsPro

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