Everything (No Really, Everything) You Need to Know About Financial Wellness at Work

by Parker Piscitello-Faye

As more and more companies embrace new approaches to work-life in 2021, employee benefits are also changing. From four day work weeks to tuition assistance, employers are stepping up to support workers after such a difficult two years. Part of that changing equation? Employee financial well-being programs and closer attention to financial wellness at work.

This new employee benefit allows companies to support their team’s financial, in addition to their professional, success. However, for employers just starting to do research on these platforms, navigating this new world can get overwhelming, fast. 

So, to help both parties better understand what this new benefits program is, we’ve put together an all encompassing resource. We’ll cover employee wellness programs, their benefits, their ROI post-pandemic, and next steps to take to implement them. 

Here, you can find out:

1) What Financial Well-being at Work Is

2) What Employee Financial Well-being Programs Are

3) The Benefits of Employee Financial Well-being 

4) Why Employee Financial Wellness is Essential in the Post-Pandemic Workforce

5) How to Determine Which Employee Wellness Program is Right for Your Team

6) What to Consider Before You Implement Financial Well-being Programs 

And, if you’re looking for even more, feel free to check out our three guides below. They’re intentionally designed for those ready to take the next step in seeking out these new benefits:

1) Nav.it’s Essential Introduction to Employee Financial Well-Being

2) Nav.it’s Guide to Emotional & Financial Fitness Solutions 

3) Nav.it’s Ultimate Guide to Employer Financial Well-Being Programs

What is Financial Well-being at Work?

We’re so glad you asked. 

Financial Well-Being describes an approach to wellness that takes into account that how you choose to spend, save, and budget your money is influenced by who you are and how you feel. Instead of shirking from money’s impact on our entire (emotional, mental, and physical) selves, we embrace it. Promoting financial wellness in the workplace means taking a holistic approach to managing your personal finances. It can also mean learning more about your financial identity. 

Facilitating financial well-being can look like: 

  • Paying close attention to how spending and saving impact your stress levels and emotions
  • Remembering that who you are impacts how you spend
  • Developing better, sustainable money habits to meet both your needs and goals
  • Budgeting in a way that makes sense to you
  • Engaging with others to remember that personal finance isn’t a competition

Post-pandemic, with so many Americans working from home, a Great Resignation, and companies paying more attention to burnout, business leaders are facilitating employee wellness at work. By investing in financial wellness programs (see below for more on those), employers are hoping to reap the benefit of having less stressed, more engaged, and more financially resilient and prepared employees. Feel free to check out our pulse article on What Company Leaders Need to Know about Employee Financial Well-Being for more on what promoting financial wellness in the workplace looks like.

One last note: financial well-being at work is not about getting rich fast. It also doesn’t mean showing teams how to use a one-size-fits-all budget. Instead, these programs help stressed out employees learn how to make more mindful decisions with their money.

image of man working while on phone under text "financial wellness at work"
In 2021, benefits like financial well-being programs are no longer optional.

What Are Employee Financial Well-being Programs?

In some ways, employee wellness programs are exactly what they sound like. These are platforms designed to help teams develop better, healthier money habits. They also support employees as they improve upon or pursue their financial well-being.

Yet, because of how popular employee wellness has become, the definition of the terms “financial well-being programs,” “employee wellness programs,” and “financial wellness programs” have expanded. Now, there are many different types of offerings that specialize in a range of solutions. Check out some of the most popular options below. 

Guides→ These programs offer resources with the goal of educating customers about how to manage their personal finances. These resources vary in the form of videos, paper or digital pamphlets, or articles.

Interactive training →  A little more engaging than an educational resource, these platforms train users to manage their own personal finances through an interactive tool (typically a webportal or app) or through in-person workshops with an expert.

Tracking and monitoring programs → These tools help employees recognize their spending and saving habits (and, if they’re good, how they feel about them). By giving users the ability to recognize how they spend, save, and pay down debt, these tools empower employees to manage their own finances and set budgeting plans that reflect their lifestyles.

Company engagement→ Some platforms incentivize employees through company-wide competitions, awards, or events, promoting financial wellness in the workplace through engagement.

Financial experts→ Some companies have partnered with financial experts to offer advice or counseling over the phone, in chat rooms, via email, or in workshop sessions throughout the year.

Holistic approaches→ Finally, holistic approaches to financial well-being incorporate a variety of features (including emotional tracking, financial resources, incentive and engagement tools) to improve employee financial literacy, help employees’ mental health, and increase profits. These can be apps, portals, or physical resources and, ideally, they meet most (if not all) of employees’ well-being needs at once.

For more on the types of programs out there, including their pros and cons, check out Nav.it’s Ultimate Guide to Employer Financial Well-Being Programs.

What are the Benefits of Employee Financial Well-being Programs?

Below, we’ve detailed some of the most common benefits of seeking out a financial wellness program. However, keep in mind that each employer and employee will go about promoting financial wellness in the workplace for their own combination of reasons.

Many employees choose to invest in their employees’ financial health because of their desire to boost wellness at their workplace. Indeed, mitigating financial stress isn’t just a worthwhile process on its own; doing so can help improve mental and physical health.

Financial Well-being Programs:

  • Prevent financial stress.

76% of our users have reported less financial stress since using Nav.it. Better yet, since the majority of Americans rank finances as their top stressor, reducing financial stress means decreasing stress as a whole.

  • Support employees’ mental health.

86% of people with mental health issues and debt say that their debt makes their mental health issues worse. Helping employees manage their personal finances is a solid step in the right direction for leaders concerned about their teams’ mental health.

  • Help employees avoid physical consequences of financial stress.

28% of Americans believe their financial worries has influenced their health (over other factors like relationships and productivity). Healthier finances means healthier people.

Financial wellness programs have also demonstrated a substantial ROI for employers. By boosting productivity, reducing turnover, and supporting company culture, these programs can improve your bottom line. One important note before you dive in: the annual cost of financial stress to the employer in lost productivity and absenteeism per employee is a staggering $2,169.

Consequently, employers are working to get this 2k back by:

Boosting performance and productivity.

graphic illustrating Nav.it on a mobile device
Nav.it at work promotes employee financial well-being, one check-in at a time.

We wrote an article on Why Employee Financial Well-being Has Everything to do with Performance if you are looking for more specifics. But, the facts are that: 22% of employees report that their productivity at work has been negatively impacted by their financial worries. In fact, 43% of workers spend time on their finances at work. Employers can boost their workers’ performance and productivity by investing in financial wellness programs

Drastically reducing turnover. 

72% of employees whose financial stress increased due to the pandemic would be interested in working for a company that cares more about their financial well-being. Preventing money worries helps employers avoid turnover (and the costs that come with it).

Improving their company’s culture.

Financially stressed employers are 9x more likely to have poor coworker relationships

Other Essential Benefits of A Financial Wellness Program

To promote equal access to financial well-being and information.

45% of Black responders, 40% of Hispanic responders, 26% of Asian American responders, and 44% of “Other” responders agreed with the statement “I have too much debt right now” compared to 35% of white responders.

Only 55% of men and 29% of women would be able to meet their basic financial needs if they were out of work for an extended period.

To help your employees plan for their future.

38% of employees have saved less than $1,000 to cover unexpected expenses.

For more on the benefits of financial wellness programs, check out Nav.it’s Nav.it’s Essential Introduction to Employee Financial Well-Being. The resource is complete with more statistics on the benefits, a list of top 10 ways promoting financial wellness in the workplace can help your company, and what to keep in mind as you begin your search.

Post-Pandemic Employee Financial Well-being 

There are many reasons to pursue a financial wellness program after COVID-19 that we wrote a whole article on it. You can read that here: 5 Reasons to Pursue Employee Financial Well-Being Post-Covid 

But, in brief, employers should consider supporting their employees’ financial health now because of what a difficult two years it has been emotionally, psychologically, physically, and financially. 

63% of employees say that their financial stress has increased since the start of the pandemic. Now more than ever, employers need to work to combat the financial stress their workers are experiencing.

Furthermore, as we grapple with a Great Resignation, employers will benefit immensely from giving themselves an edge over their competitors. According to a study by PWC, 72% of employees whose financial stress increased due to the pandemic would be attracted to work at a company that cares more about their financial well-being. Those who do not invest may lose, and fail to attract, talent in the years ahead.

Lastly, as leaders debate remaining remote or returning to the office, employee wellness programs stand to unite a hybrid workforce. Many include community and engagement features, and can help their employers collect aggregated insight into their employees’ well-being, and take steps to improve it.

How to Determine Which Employee Wellness Program is Right for Your Team

Ready to take the next step in promoting financial wellness in the workplace? Fantastic.

It’s completely normal to doubt where, and how, to get started. At Nav.it, we don’t think you can solve a problem (whether it’s your own overspending or your employees’ financial stress) without knowing what you’re up against. This is why we recommend businesses first run a survey of their employees. With a survey (or even multiple surveys), you’ll better understand the challenges before conquering it. 

To advise employers on how to collect insight, we’ve written a guide on How to Create the Perfect Employee Financial Well-Being Survey

The key takeaways? Consider your goals throughout the process, think about the past and future (not just the present), and keep it brief. Discuss what you hope to gain from the survey before you send it out. To ensure you get the information and data you need, stick to multiple choice questions that yield quantitative results.

After gathering insight, feel free to use our decision flowchart (below) to guide your decision. Our Ultimate Guide to Employer Financial Well-Being Programs also includes tons of considerations to ease your decision making. It’s complete with a final checklist of questions to contemplate before you sign your company up.

flowchart to help employers to decide which financial well-being program is right for their company
Use the flowchart above to decide on a financial well-being approach.

What to Consider Before You Implement a Financial Well-being Program 

If you have done your due diligence, collected insight, and made a program decision, you may feel like your work is done. But, before you close this tab and give yourself a pat on the back, keep in mind the following. 

1. You can demo programs.

Before committing or signing an agreement with a financial wellness platform, check to see if they have a trial program. Even if you only have a portion of your employees partake in it, a demo will give you actual insight into what works and doesn’t work for your team. Also, don’t be afraid to ask to trial a program during discussions (if doing so isn’t listed as an option on the website).

2. Definitions of “holistic” and even “financial well-being” may vary.

Keep in mind that your definition of “holistic” or “wellness” may not match that of different programs. They each have their own set of definitions and consider well-being to be influenced by different factors. Look and ask for clear definitions to make sure their program will meet your needs.

3. Where your money (and data) is going

This may seem obvious, but as you purchase or subscribe to a financial wellness program, consider, of course, what you’re paying for. Is it content? Is it access to an expert? Useful features? Equally important, consider what you aren’t paying for. The company you decide to go with will have access to sensitive information on your employees; make sure it stays in the right hands. Confirm that the data they gather will be kept safe and not sold.

4. You should have a long-term plan (and reassess it often).

Finally, while you may be tempted to walk away from a program after you have set it up or consider your team’s financial challenges solved, don’t. You need to keep tabs on the program and frequently reassess its influence to effectively go about promoting financial wellness in the workplace. Set a time (maybe in a month or two) to do a deep dive into what the program has and hasn’t offered and assess its effectiveness. Your employees and company are counting on you.

Conclusions

We hope this all-encompassing resource helped you develop a better sense of what financial well-being at work is, how you can promote it, and how you can best navigate the program landscape. As you continue to research this important new benefits program, return to this guide or venture over to our Nav.it at Work site. 

Also feel free to send us an email (at maia@nav.it) if you have specific questions about financial well-being at work, its potential benefits, and the work we do at Nav.it to help our users, and employees, develop better money habits.

By: Parker Piscitello-Fay

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