When I ask people, “What comes to mind when you think about wellness at work?” they typically talk about traditional employee benefits – health insurance, employee assistance programs and ensuring there are healthy snacks in the vending machine.

Employers should also take stock of employees’ financial wellness – their ability to make confident financial choices that enable them to avoid stress today and provide for secure financial futures tomorrow.

Many people across the economic spectrum aren’t confident they have the insight and tools to make appropriate financial choices.

For employers, the lesson is that employees’ financial stress can’t always be cured with a regular paycheck. The other important lesson is the understanding that employees’ financial stress impacts their personal well-being and their workplace contributions.

Consider these findings from the 2018 PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey:

  • Regardless of age, employees surveyed stated that financial challenges and money matters create the most stress in their lives.
  • Despite an improving economy and strong job market, nearly half (47 percent) of employees report they are stressed dealing with their financial situation, and 41 percent say their stress level related to financial issues increased over the past 12 months.
  • Employees who are stressed about their finances are in worse financial shape compared with employees who are not stressed about their finances. For example, 37 percent of those feeling financial stress struggle to make minimum credit card payments each month, compared with six percent of employees not dealing with financial stress.

Research shows that, at times, employees resort to taking time off from work to deal with financial concerns. Other times, employees may be present at work but their attention is focused on resolving their financial problems. Willis Towers Watson research showed employees with financial worries lost 12.4 days to “presenteeism” – being present but significantly distracted – nearly four times the days lost to actual absences.

Workplace financial wellness programs are one solution to this ongoing problem.

Employers considering a financial wellness program should look for the following services:

  • On-site sessions where employees can learn about financial wellness and best practices for understanding their personal finances and how to take control of their finances.
  • Online resources that enable employees to track their spending, set budgets and document their progress toward specific financial goals.
  • Personalized advice that is tailored to employees’ individual financial concerns.
  • Products that support financial wellness.

Research shows workplace financial wellness programs make a difference.

PwC reports 65 percent of employees who have workplace financial wellness programs tap those programs to get spending under control, prepare for retirement and pay off debt.

A worksite financial wellness program can, for example, help employees start the home-buying process as they may realize it requires less of a down payment than they thought.

Workplace financial wellness programs also let employers demonstrate how much they value their employees, providing real life and tangible support that helps employees be more financially fit.

We know that in a tightening labor market, workplace financial wellness programs can help employers retain valued employees and attract high-quality new talent, allowing a business to remain competitive.

This article was written by Rodney Bolden from Westchester County Business Journal and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.