Financial stress is something that affects the majority of employees.
In fact, 86% of employees say they’re dealing with some type of financial stress, according to a recent report by Financial Finesse.
And employees with financial stress incur 24% higher medical costs than their non-stressed peers.
What’s worse, this creates a vicious cycle: Workers become stressed over finances, which leads to health problems, which leads to costly medical bills and even more stress.
Under the wellness umbrella
In her presentation at the 2014 SHRM Conference, Linda Robertson pointed to all these factors as reasons that financial education needs to be aligned with employers’ overall wellness initiatives.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen too often. According to a 2013 study by SHRM, just 19% of companies’ wellness initiatives were aligned with any financial education initiatives.
Often financial wellness is seen as a part of a company’s retirement plan, which turns many workers off.
Reason: Because they’re dealing with day-to-day financial issues, retirement planning isn’t a priority.
Instead, Robertson urges employers to take the following steps regarding financial wellness:
- Institutionalize it or roll it into the overall wellness strategy
- Brand it (come up with a communication plan that makes the program stand out)
- Create champions (i.e., get upper management involved), and
- Make financial wellness part of all of your benefits communications. Like health-management programs, year-round communication is a must with financial wellness.
Adapted from “Marketing a Successful Financial Wellness Program to Improve Your Workforce’s Financial Literacy,” by Linda Robertson, as presented at the 2014 SHRM Conference in Orlando, FL.