BrightPlan published its most recent Wellness Barometer Survey, a collection of data to help people learn what’s on employees’ minds and how employers can best support their team—especially in this changing market and workplace environment.
The survey focuses on financial wellness, an essential concern for employees. We’ll define financial wellness, summarize the most critical findings from the survey, and review how you can use these findings to support your employees.
What is financial wellness, exactly?
Financial wellness refers to having stability and control over one’s financial situation. It involves having the knowledge, skills, and access to resources that enable someone to:
- Manage expenses and budget appropriately
- Pay bills and debts on time
- Build short-term savings and emergency funds
- Plan for long-term goals like retirement
- Make informed decisions
- Recover from financial setbacks
When people have good financial wellness, they feel in control of their money rather than having their money control them. It provides peace of mind and the freedom to choose to enjoy life. The ultimate goal is to meet present needs while having a plan for the future.
What are the most important survey findings?
Stress about finances is high
Inflation and rising costs of groceries, bills, and gas have everyone on edge. Because of this, employees are shifting their habits, such as putting off retirement, working extra hours, and taking on side hustles, while employers are lessening their spending on travel and meetings, cutting back on company positions, and laying people off. Those feeling the pinch should recognize that everyone is stressed about their financial situation, employers and employees alike, and work together to alleviate those feelings.
Financial preparedness is low
While people want to be prepared for any financial situation that might come their way, the actual level of preparedness is low. Only 18% of people have basic financial literacy, while over 50% have unmanageable debt, 52% save nothing for retirement, and 35% have no emergency savings. This is an alarming finding and should let employers know to avoid assuming employees have their ducks all in a row.
Financial stress impacts health
Financial stress has an impact on physical, social, and mental health. Because of this, productivity is low, costing individual employees, on average, around nine hours a week of lost time. Also, people are spending more time at work and less time with friends and family—factors critical to both social and mental health. When financial stress is present, work can take more precedence and throw any work-life integration off-kilter, leading to burnout and subsequent drop in productivity.
Employers know they play a vital role
Employers recognize that financial wellness is top of mind. Despite this, there is a disconnect: many employers believe they offer the necessary tools to help; at the same time, employees say the tools are lacking or they’re unaware if their employer offers any financial wellness tools or benefits. This finding shows that employers should provide these kinds of benefits, and if they already do, they need to improve their communication about them.
Employees feel uncertain about their pay and their overall company culture
Employees want to feel safe and valued. In terms of financial well-being, most employees still feel they need to receive fair pay. Although many believe improving diversity, equity, and inclusion could help close unfair pay gaps, employees still want to feel more comfortable and safe in their workplace overall. This should let employers know they need to check in on their overall company culture.
What should you do with this data?
Data helps us make decisions and take the necessary steps to improve our business and processes. Here’s how you can use this data to improve financial wellness benefits.
Address financial stress
Recognize that financial stress affects everyone and encourage open communication and collaboration to find solutions. Consider implementing programs or initiatives that address relevant concerns, such as planning workshops, budgeting assistance, or access to financial advisors.
Offer preparedness programs
If employees need a higher level of financial preparedness, you can offer access to educational resources and training programs. This could include seminars or online courses covering budgeting, debt management, retirement savings, and how to build emergency funds.
Connect financial wellness to overall health
Highlight the impact of financial stress on physical, social, and mental health, and encourage everyone to prioritize their well-being. Address physical and financial wellness with benefits such as gym subsidies, mental health support, or flexible work arrangements.
Improving communication channels is essential to bridge the gap between the perception of employers providing sufficient resources and employees feeling like they lack benefits. This will ensure everyone is aware of any available benefits. Use various communication methods, such as company-wide emails or Slack and Teams channels, to keep employees updated on their benefits.
Evaluate and improve compensation practices
Conduct regular evaluations of compensation practices to make sure employees are adequately compensated. Consider implementing pay equity initiatives and conducting salary audits to address any existing pay gaps, communicate transparently about compensation policies, and give chances for people to voice concerns or provide feedback.
Foster a supportive company culture
Address any concerns regarding overall company culture, safety, and well-being. Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to create a more inclusive work environment by encouraging open dialogue, providing channels for feedback, and regularly assessing the effectiveness of DEI initiatives. You can also invest in professional development and growth opportunities to demonstrate a commitment to well-being and career progression.
Focus on financial wellness
By addressing financial stress, connecting financial health to overall wellness, enhancing benefits communication, evaluating compensation practices, and fostering an inclusive culture, employers can make meaningful impacts on the lives of their workforce.
While these changes take time and continued effort, even small steps to prioritize financial well-being can go a long way. Your employees are important, and supporting their financial wellness shows them you’re committed to their overall health, satisfaction, and productivity.
Content provided by Q4intelligence
Photo by Blue Planet Studio