How to Promote Financial Wellness in the Workplace
By Baillie Ward
2017 has been lauded the “year of employee financial wellness”. Now that we’ve passed the halfway mark of 2017, it may be a good time to reflect on your current programs to determine whether you need to either promote your existing financial wellness program or adopt a financial wellness program. Either way, promoting financial wellness (even without an existing program) could do wonders for your employees’ emotional and financial health, which leads to greater productivity- putting more dollars in your pocket.
As an employer, you cannot deny the role you play in your employees’ financial wellness. While you obviously are not responsible for creating unique budgets and paying down their debts, you can find easy ways to promote overall wellness within the workplace. By introducing financial wellness topics into regular conversations and employee updates, you can reduce employee stress, which allows them to be more engaged and productive in the workplace.
So, with this in mind - how can you promote financial wellness within the workplace?
Some research has found that introducing financial wellness as a priority early on in the hiring process helps to solidify new habits because new employees are more open to change. When expanding or restructuring teams, introduce them to financial wellness as early as possible, which will fit in well with their decision-making process as they choose retirement plans, tax deductions, and more. It’s a great way to increase morale and get new hires working towards financial wellness as early on as possible.
Employees spend an average of 2.5 hours a day receiving, reading, and sending emails. The vast majority of emails they’ll receive will not be productive, so why not add some value to their inbox? Send out weekly, biweekly, or monthly newsletters that offer your employees a valuable takeaway on financial wellness- either a budgeting tip, a fact about finances, or anything relevant to their lives that will encourage them to practice smarter finance choices.
Your real spouse may pester you about finances, but what about your work spouse? Setting up an accountability partner within the office may help to encourage participation. If you’re with your coworkers at least 40 hours a week, that provides plenty of opportunities to check in and see how employees are performing on various wellness challenges or budgeting strategies. A little friendly competition couldn’t hurt, either; try setting up a month-long financial challenge that allows your employees to work in teams towards a common goal. Here’s an idea: challenge your employees to cut down on costs associated with common wallet drainers like eating out or unnecessary shopping. Have them track their spending, and for an added incentive, provide a prize to the winning team at the end of the month.
The act of simply writing your name down on paper could improve your dedication to a cause, research shows. While not a legally binding document, a commitment contract is a handy tool to increase participation and dedication to a goal. If you’re beginning a financial wellness program yourself or integrating an external service into your existing benefits, give your employees the opportunity to sign a personalized commitment contract with specific parameters or goals they hope to accomplish. It may sound simple, but it’s impactful- this allows your employees to hold themselves accountable for their own unique financial goals, which could encourage them to be an active participant in the program.
Convincing your entire company to change their current financial habits for the better may seem like a daunting task, but it’s a task with a measurable ROI. If employees are spending 3-5 hours a week worrying about things other than their job, that’s money lost. However, if you invest in your employees and provide easy, engaging ways to make smarter financial choices, your employees will pay you back. They will return to focusing on their jobs and not spending their working hours stressed out about personal finances. We hope that you’re able to incorporate at least one of these strategies into your organization, and we look forward to hearing about your successes.