November 30, 2023

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Financial Wellbeing Programs Taking Center Stage in the Workplace, Survey Shows

A new study published in early November has revealed that employee well-being programs are gaining traction in the workplace as more employers are integrating them into workplace wellness plans to increase employee satisfaction and engagement. 

The new survey, conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), comes on the heels of a massive wave of employee resignations across many industries, as workers report low satisfaction and engagement. Poor workplace wellness culture has remained a significant driver of the “Great Resignation” that has rocked the corporate space in the last year, as the need to safeguard health and safety has become a key employee concern. 

The fifth annual Employee Benefit Research Institute Financial Wellbeing Employer Survey has revealed intentional measures business leaders are taking to rebuild corporate wellness culture and improve employee retention. 

One of the major implications of the COVID-19 pandemic was the financial burden it created in many homes, as pay cuts, job losses, and forceful retirements were common occurrences during the pandemic. With financial worries being a major driver of workplace stress, addressing this key issue via financial wellness initiatives is a great start to rebuilding employee trust and engagement. 

The survey found that employers now offer their workers more financial benefits, including financial planning education, financial investment education, and other broad-based financial resources to help their workers better manage their finances. 

The survey responses were collected through a 15-minute online survey of 250 full-time benefits decision-makers conducted in June and July 2022. All the respondents worked full-time at companies with at least 500 employees and were interested in offering some kind of employee financial benefits program. Further, all respondents held an executive officer or manager position in human resources, compensation, or finances. 

As many as 85 percent of the companies noted that they have developed a cost/benefit analysis of their financial wellness offerings based on employee satisfaction, employee attraction/retention, employee productivity, and mental health claims. The employers noted that these have become the new metrics for measuring the success of their financial wellness initiatives. Employee satisfaction was the leading metric, with employee attraction/retention next. 

About 84 percent of employers noted that their financial well-being initiatives were targeted toward improving employee mental and emotional well-being, as finances remain a key driver of workplace stress. More than 60 percent of the companies further added that they offer mental health benefits or coverage, mostly via medical/health insurance or employee assistance programs. 

Most of the employers further noted that their financial wellness offerings were mainly targeted to address issues such as retirement preparedness, healthcare costs, and financial stress. However, most respondents cite a new issue as driving financial wellness programs — the high cost of living. Investments and retirement planning were the most common offerings, followed by basic financing and education as well as consulting programs. 

The financial benefits that ranked highest in the survey among those employers were planning to offer include tuition reimbursement and/or assistance and basic money management tools. These were closely followed by retirement planning education, seminars or webinars on financial management, child/elder caregiving benefits, personalized credit, and debt counseling, and financial coaching or planning. Although caregiving benefits most commonly offered were related to employee leave policies and not necessarily through direct caregiving offerings, about 25 percent of employers said they planned on offering other caregiving benefits in the next one to two years. 

The survey findings also indicated that employers are fully integrating equity, diversity, and inclusivity into workplace financial benefits. Benefit decision-makers in the survey were most likely to tailor financial solutions according to gender, race/ethnicity, and age instead of providing generic offerings. While race/ethnicity and age were the most cited groups employers looked at in curating individualized financial solutions, gender and minority populations were the least cited. 

The most cited challenges to these offerings were costs to both the employer and the employee, followed by data and privacy concerns as well as the complicated nature of some of the initiatives.

Overall, employers are beginning to take financial wellness and other components of employee well-being more seriously, as these underly the global shift disrupting the workplace. The age-long employee dissatisfaction and poor employee well-being indicators are driving these recent changes in the corporate scene, and employers are beginning to rethink financial wellness to rebuild trust with employees and customers, and also improve employee retention and engagement.

The survey was made possible with funding support from American Express, AARP, Bank of America, Church Pension Group, Financial Finesse, HealthEquity, J.P. Morgan Chase, Lincoln Financial Group, Mercer, Morgan Stanley, Principal Financial Group, and Prudential Financial.

Global Healthcare Accreditation For Business

Admittedly, the pandemic has deepened distrust in workplace wellness programs and has caused countless employers and organizations to lose their best talent and even struggle to replace them. In the post-pandemic world of business, trust is key, and in building trust, employers need to show commitment to the well-being, health, and safety of their employees and clients. 

Global Healthcare Accreditation (GHA) For Business is packed with resources and tools to transform your business to meet these post-pandemic demands of the workplace. This external validation demonstrates to employees and potential customers that you are committed to safeguarding their health and well-being and have concrete measures in place to ensure that. The GHA For Business raises the bar in workplace wellness culture, pushing business leaders and organizations to rethink their workplace wellness plans and benefits to better serve and engage their workforce and customers. 

As the new normal of work becomes more competitive and volatile, GHA For Business provides a competitive edge for organizations in building confidence and trust, thus, improving employee and customer retention. 

About GHA

Global Healthcare Accreditation (GHA) is a global accrediting body led by a team of lifetime leaders in corporate wellness, benefits, as well as international health and safety. We curate trusted resources and information, aggregate best practices, and build an adaptable and scalable framework of standards for any organization to benefit from. ​

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