Put These 5 Financial Wellness Trends to Use in 2019

Put These 5 Financial Wellness Trends to Use in 2019

Do employers have a responsibility for the financial well-being of their employees?

Remarkably, more employers (59%) than employees (50%) say yes to this question, according to MetLife’s 2018 U.S. Employee Benefits Trends Study. Even so, only 18% of companies currently offer financial wellness programs, workshops and tools to their employees.

This dearth of resources is about to end as 67% of companies plan to expand their well-being initiatives over the next three to five years to address non-physical aspects of well-being such as financial health.

In light of this growing focus on employees’ financial wellness, here are five voluntary benefits set to trend upward in 2019 and beyond:

  1. Financial education resources, including guidance by professionals. Most employees want to make their own financial decisions—but they want to be better educated about finances in general and they want at least some counsel from experts. This was clearly validated by PwC’s 2018 Financial Wellness Survey of full-time U.S. employees. It asked participants which benefit they would most like their employer to add, and their top response was a financial wellness benefit with access to unbiased counselors. Be sure the resources you offer address “the basics” such as debt counseling, budgeting and retirement planning. Consider using a variety of educational channels including online tools and resources, onsite workshops and seminars, and phone consultations with financial coaches. If you want to go beyond the basics, customized financial action plans and resources are excellent options.
  2. Student loan repayment benefits. These benefits (including debt refinancing programs and employer contributions to loan balances) will be especially popular among companies looking to attract younger workers and recent graduates. But, as a recent SHRM article pointed out, it’s not just youngsters who owe on student loans. In the U.S., more than 44 million people collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loans.
  3. Employee discount programs. A high-quality discount program gives employees access to national and local discounts from a variety of trusted brands, helping them save money on major purchases (a home, a car, vacations, etc.) as well as on everyday items (groceries, clothing, health club and gym memberships, school supplies, restaurants, and more). The best programs also help reduce employees’ child care and senior care expenses, which many families experience simultaneously.
  4. Installment loans and credit. These voluntary benefit offerings keep employees from making bad decisions such as taking out cash advances on their credit cards or taking payday loans when they face unexpected medical expenses, emergency home repairs, and the like. By providing them with low-interest loans they can pay off in reasonable installments or giving them access to credit at a reasonable rate, employers can forge strong bonds with workers and earn greater loyalty.
  5. Life event financial support. Another key way to help employees is to provide them with financial tools related to major life events— for example preparing for a baby, buying a new home, sending a child to college, or supporting an aging loved one. These life events are some of the most stressful your employees will ever face, and they represent significant money management challenges. Helping employees resolve them is a great way to raise loyalty and engagement levels.

Why Employees’ Financial Wellness Matters

Why Employees’ Financial Wellness Matters
The majority of U.S. workers (54%, in fact) are stressed about their finances. So offering financial wellness benefits could give you a decided edge in attracting and retaining talent. Indeed, the PwC Survey found that 68% of Gen X workers, 67% of Millennials and 50% of Baby Boomers are more likely to be attracted to another company that cares more about their financial well-being.

Talent attraction and retention aren’t the only business benefits of helping employees improve their financial health. As the PwC Survey report states: “Our research is showing that financial stressors are not only negatively impacting employees, but are costing employers. Stressed employees are found to be less productive, take more time off to deal with financial matters, are more likely to leave the company for higher compensation, and are more likely to cite health issues caused by financial stress. These findings evidence a direct correlation between an employee’s financial well-being and a company’s bottom line.” In short, helping employees remove financial stressors is every bit as good for your business as it is for your people.

The fact is, employers are already adopting a more holistic view of financial wellness. According to last year’s Health and Well-Being Survey, conducted by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), 90% of employers now consider financial well-being to be one of the top three components of an employee’s overall well-being (physical and emotional health are the other two).

But as the MetLife study makes clear, this altered outlook hasn’t yet translated into widely available resources for employees. If you act soon to implement financial wellness benefits, 2019 could be a breakout year for your talent strategy and your employment brand.

As always, if you’d like to learn more about implementing financial wellness benefits or other results-oriented work-life programs, contact us here or call us at 866-675-3751.

2019 Top Recruiting Trends: Benefits To Attract and Retain Multi-Gen Talent

Benefits To Attract and Retain Multi-Gen Talent

“Organizations that take a strategic approach to their benefits program, leveraging benefits to recruit and retain employees, are nearly twice as likely to have more satisfied employees and to report better business performance compared with organizations that are not strategic with benefits.”

That insight comes from the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) 2018 Employee Benefits research report—and it’s something all employers need to keep in mind as the competition for talent gets even tougher in 2019, thanks to record-low unemployment, widening skills gaps and talent shortages, and shifting demographics (the influx of more Millennials and Gen Z workers).

These potent forces are transforming the composition of the workforce forever, which means employers need to attract workers from every generation to fill their talent needs in the years to come.

So how can your organization take a more strategic approach to its employee benefits in order to recruit and retain talent from all generations in the workforce today — Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Gen Z?

Simple: offer your employees a range of voluntary benefits that support their unique lifestyles and needs.

Breaking Through the Noise
People are more selective these days about which jobs they apply for based on the benefits being offered, observes a 2018 article from BenefitsPro.com. “Basic benefits like paid vacation and a 401(k) aren’t enough to break through the noise anymore. … In 2019, employers will need to focus on making their entire benefits package more enticing.”

Implementing a diversified array of cost-effective voluntary benefits not only makes your overall benefits package more enticing but it also enables you to effectively serve the unique and varied needs of every generation of workers. As the benefitsPro.com article notes, “attractive benefits can make the difference between whether a prospective employee accepts a job offer or not,” and voluntary benefits provide a cadre of solutions that can be customized to attract the talent you need.

Leverage These Five Voluntary Benefits Trends

Leverage These Five Voluntary Benefits Trends
Here are five voluntary benefits that are trending in 2019 and that are highly valued by all workers:

1. Work-life programs—While each generation may define work-life balance differently, they all desire it, notes a 2018 Forbes article. “By creating a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance, employers can save money and maintain a healthier, more productive workforce,” the article states. For a nominal cost, you can launch a comprehensive work-life program that provides your employees with 24/7 access to live specialists who are trained to deal with the full spectrum of work-life issues. Plus, the results and ROI of this type of program far exceed those of self-service programs.

2. Backup care—Inevitably, the child or elder care arrangements your employees have in place will break down at some point. Unless you have a backup care program in place, most employees will have to scramble to find alternate arrangements—and many will fail. That’s why nearly half of all working parents miss an average of four days of work at least once every six months … and workers who care for aging loved ones miss more than 126 million workdays per year. A state-of-the-art backup care program saves your company’s caregivers from the mad rush to find last-minute, alternate care. Plus, it’ll help your company slash absenteeism, presenteeism, productivity losses and stress. (See our previous post on backup care to learn about all of the business benefits it delivers.)

3. Senior care management—Workers from all generations are already (or soon will be) facing the challenge of caring for aging relatives and other loved ones. Without the right support, elder caregiving can take a heavy toll on your employees (in the form of absenteeism/presenteeism, caregiver burnout and poor health) and your organization (in lost productivity, turnover and health-related costs). A high-quality senior care management program provides a spectrum of invaluable services such as in-person assessments of elders, their homes and potential care facilities; detailed care recommendations; 24/7 telephonic and online services for the employee; and more.

Senior Care Management

4. Breast milk shipping—In 2017, more than 65% of mothers with children under six years old were part of the U.S. labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A growing number of employers now offer a breast milk shipping service to their nursing mothers who travel as part of their jobs. You can provide additional support to your organization’s working mothers by giving them 24/7 access to lactation consultants, discounted breast pumps, and prescreened referrals to other lactation resources, as does LifeCare’s award-winning Mother’s@Work program.

5. Financial wellness—Employees spend approximately 150 hours of their time at work annually worrying about money, according to a 2017 Mercer study. Whether it’s unpaid student loans, credit card debt, healthcare-related expenses, or saving for retirement, every generation stresses out about finances. You can help put your employees’ minds at ease and get them on track financially by providing them with reliable financial wellness services including access to financial counselors, financial planning professionals and other resources designed to educate and empower them. A 2018 Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey asked employees what would improve their financial wellness most; they cited practical guidance that would “focus on the single next thing to do—one step at a time,” along with helping them save and invest for the future. So be particularly sure your financial wellness offerings cover those topics.

By incorporating these voluntary benefits trends into your talent acquisition strategy, you’ll cut through the noise of the marketplace and draw multigenerational talent to your brand for years to come.

As always, contact us here or call us at 1-(866) 675-3751 if you’d like to discuss anything you’ve read here or how LifeCare can serve your organization.

Taking Care: Employee Financial Wellness

Taking Care: Employee Financial Wellness

In today’s workplace, employee well-being initiatives are no longer just about diet and exercise. More and more employees are facing money worries, and that financial stress is taking its toll on their health, productivity and, in the end, their employer’s bottom line. From getting bills paid to saving for retirement, finding affordable child care to managing debt, the financial challenges add up, along with stress. Companies nationwide are addressing this epidemic by implementing programs that will empower and educate employees to achieve financial fitness and independence.

What’s Happening?
Anxiety over finances is wreaking havoc on the health and productivity of companies’ workforces and, in turn, their profitability nationwide. The financial challenges being faced by employees today are causing distraction, absenteeism, poor morale, low employee engagement and presenteeism. A Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) study examined the types of financial challenges employees are experiencing, how they may transfer into concerns for the workplace and what employers are doing to alleviate these issues. The findings show that 96% of respondents said personal financial challenges had an impact on employees’ work performance. Furthermore, the survey goes on to indicate that the negative impact of employee’s financial challenges increased for employee’s overall stress, overall productivity and absenteeism/tardiness.

Employee Financial Wellness

Building Financial Fitness
Employers can help employees take control of their finances, achieve financial security and help with their short and long term financial goals by first determining the areas where their workforce are most struggling. Then by providing money management fundamentals, strategies and guidance through educational materials, webinars and seminars, financial tools and discount programs, organizations are helping employees better understand their finances and improving how they interact with their money. Implementing financial wellness programs will arm employees with the information they need to wisely face medical expenses, budget their earnings, save for retirement, manage debt and any of their other financial challenges. In some cases employees aren’t even aware of existing programs and benefits already available to them which can be remedied by communication around financial wellness. By promoting and improving an employee’s financial well-being, they will in turn be more engaged, focused and able to enjoy a healthier work-life balance. 

Building Financial Fitness

Finding Funding
According to the SHRM study findings, the top issue organizations are facing with providing financial education initiatives is the cost of the program. With budgets already straining, and the rising costs of benefits, many employers may feel hesitant to invest in a financial wellness program. However, what many companies probably don’t realize is that the additional cost will bring an added return through increased productivity, reduced medical and workers compensation costs, reduced sick and disability leave and increased employee loyalty and retention. In fact, a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) study on financial wellness at work revealed that employers can see returns as high as tripling each dollar they invest in financial wellness programs.

Finding Funding

The facts are clear, financial wellness programs have never been more important to organizations and their workforces. Employers need to consider financial challenges when planning their employee well-being initiatives. LifeCare’s Financial Wellness Services offer a centralized gateway to professional resources and unbiased experts. To learn more about how we can empower and educate your employees to achieve financial fitness, independence and security, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.