Should Leaders Look After the Financial Wellbeing of Their Employees?

What is financial wellbeing?

Financial wellbeing comes from the sense of security you get when you have enough money to meet your needs. Dealing with it as an individual is hard enough, but what most employers fail to see is that it’s a plague that affects their employees, too.

But the question is, should business owners consider their employees’ financial wellbeing?

The short answer is: of course. As a matter of fact, Marcel Schwantes explains that financial wellbeing is connected to both physical and mental health, and that it should be considered as part of an individual’s overall wellness. An advocate of human-centered workplaces for high-performing cultures, Schwantes points out that it’s important for employers to have a more holistic view of employees’ wellbeing.

This connection is a lot more direct than you think. Financial problems cause a lot of stress that can lead to very real health problems, which then lead to less productivity and distractions at work. In fact, a survey conducted by Marcus found that 88% of Americans believe that finances affect their overall health, with half pointing out that these problems keep them up at night. But aside from losing sleep, money problems are a major contributor to financial anxiety — and not everyone copes in the best ways.

For instance, an American Psychological Association study found that individuals are likely to adopt unhealthy habits to cope with stress, such as binge eating or drinking too much. Some employees may even cancel doctors’ appointments entirely in favor of saving money for other bills, and as a result their physical health deteriorates even further.

It’s even more challenging now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, where financial security is harder to achieve than ever before. With so much economic uncertainty, it can put added stress on your team’s mental health. They may be experiencing issues at home or going through lifestyle changes that put them in a grave threat of financial insecurity.

Therefore, recognising the fact that your employees’ financial wellbeing affects not only them, but your business as well is a step in the right direction. It means that as a business owner, you show empathy towards your employees, which, as mentioned in our post on ‘Managing a Multigenerational Workforce Through the Second Wave of COVID-19’ is a critical skill to ensure success in the workplace.

Offering them holistic wellness programs have a number of positives for both sides. After all, a happy employee is a productive employee, and understanding the benefits you offer can reduce their anxiety and stress. Moreover, employees who feel taken care of are more engaged and motivated to work towards reaching company goals.

Even better, an organisation that shows concern for their employees is often seen as reputable one. Keeping your employees’ financial wellbeing in mind will definitely inspire loyalty, improve your employer brand and reduce employee turnover.

That said, what are the steps you can take to make sure your employees’ financial wellness is on the agenda? Here are some ways you can start tackling their financial stress:

Improve their financial literacy

Part of the problem that causes finance-induced stress is the lack of financial literacy. There are too many people who don’t understand the concepts behind managing debt or retirement, as CNBC reports that only half of Americans comprehend retirement plans or even insurance. The most cost-effective way to battle this is to engage with your employees and to provide seminars or tools for better understanding these concepts.

Start workplace schemes

Encourage your employees to invest in their financial future by starting a workplace saving scheme. Aside from 401(k)s, consider implementing a Save As You Earn scheme, which lets your employees buy shares in the company each month, or Share Incentive Plans, which is similar but a little bit more flexible.

Offer discounts for programs

Companies that partner up with insurance companies or even entertainment centers will not only help employees save on purchases, but let them enjoy themselves outside of the workplace as well. For instance, consider partnering with a local museum or nearby attractions to give discounts to your employees — not only does it rake in business for them, it saves your people money, too. You can do this for a variety of establishments: gyms, small healthcare institutions, or even grocery stores. Show your employees that you look out for them beyond your office, and they will return the favor with loyalty and productivity.

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for financial wellbeing programs, as an individual’s perspective can be very subjective. Listen to your employees’ suggestions and improve your programs as you go, and you’ll find your business reaping the benefits of a motivated and engaged workforce.

Exclusively written for

By Ashley Randall