During open enrollment HR professionals and senior leadership alike are making important decisions about what healthcare benefits they can and should provide next year. And, according to an Oct. 18 article in Employee Benefit News by David Chang, some are rethinking their approach to health care benefits altogether because they are considering adding financial wellness benefits to their overall packages.
More employers today are seeing their employees impacted by the growing crisis around financial stress. Financial anxiety negatively affects employee productivity and, more importantly, physical and mental health.
Thus, employers are taking a more holistic approach to employee well-being by providing additional resources to employees through their benefits packages, including financial benefits and wellness programs. And with the labor market continuing to tighten, financial wellness benefits are becoming key differentiators for recruitment and retention.
How bad is the problem of stress – especially financial stress – for employees? Overall consumer debt reached $13.3 trillion in the last quarter of 2018. Then, there’s a clear link between illness and financial stress, with an estimated 60 percent of illnesses being directly or indirectly caused by financial stress, and 75 percent of doctor’s visits reported as being stress-related. It’s also directly impacting worker productivity, making for a less efficient and more tense office culture across industries and work environments: 21 percent of employees spend five or more hours on personal financial matters each week, and 53 percent of employees report that financial stress interferes with their ability to focus and be productive at work.
While employees may continue to experience stress around work and finances for the foreseeable future, employers have more and more tools to provide relief and ensure employees can be their best selves in the office through financial wellness benefits. Not only will employees benefit from reduced stress, but employers will see employees that are more focused, happier and healthier.