Keeping employees engaged and productive at work is an uphill battle when they’re stressed out by personal finance. Two recent surveys show that HR professionals and employees alike think employee preoccupation with money issues has grown worse in the past 12 months, with damaging consequences.
Employee financial stress is harming productivity at work
In January the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) questioned HR professionals about how employee work habits were impacted by personal financial anxiety. Of the negative effects financial stress has on employees, HR professionals cited these as the top problems:
- The ability to focus on work (47%).
- Overall stress levels (46%)
- General productivity (26%)
Health and Financial Benefits, New Employment Orientation and Open Enrollment Covered
GuideSpark’s brilliant Content Development team has designed five new demo videos to give you a better idea of how you could be using video to engage your employees on benefits-related topics. All of these topics are covered in the GuideSpark Benefit Video Library.
- High Deductible Health Plan with Health Savings Account (HSA) – shows employees how HSAs can be a good way to get the right health benefits while saving money.
- 401(k) – discusses contribution matching, traditional vs Roth, investment options and more.
- Making Your Money Work – covers basic information on Credit Scores, how they affect financial wellness and how to improve them.
Last year it was 70. Now 80 is the “new 65”.
Middle class America is expecting to push out full retirement even later due to financial worries. We’re also expecting to have to save more. Yet almost half of us haven’t worked out how long we can last on what we’ve got already.
According to Wells Fargo’s new survey:
- Almost half said that they expected to continue in the same job or a similar job of similar responsibility (expecting the same income level, we presume).
- More than half said they need to significantly cut back on spending now to save for retirement.
If you are incorporating benefits videos into your communications strategy, how do you decide which videos to invest in first?
GuideSpark has created a new video course to assist HR departments making the exciting leap into video communication. In this course, our director of Content Development and Video expert extraordinaire, Joseph Larocque, explains that topics which are more complex or require careful explanation are natural places to start. Good candidates are core benefits, Open Enrollment changes and tough messages such as a premium increase.
“Video can really help people understand how these plans work, how they compare, and why they are compelling,” says Larocque. “If you are introducing one of these in the upcoming year, starting your video communications here will drive adoption.”
As busy as it can be, open enrollment is a good time to reflect on the effectiveness of your company’s benefits communication. While everyone seems to agree that benefits communication on the whole needs improvement, many organizations are in denial about how critical that improvement is to their own organization.
Findings from the 2011 Aflac WorkForces Report highlighted the discrepancy between how companies and their workers view benefits communications:
- 85% of employers believe their HR departments are effective at benefits communication
- 27% of employees say their HR communications are not very/not at all effective
- 39% say the efforts are somewhat effective
And yet everyone agrees there is much needed improvement:
What’s the question? Have you read the recent headlines?
Surely there are more options for proactive organizations than just waiting for the US Congress to work together to uncover ways to reduce both the country’s budget deficit and soaring health care costs. At the recent 24th Annual Benefits Forum and Expo in Dallas, two industry experts highlighted some key ways to reverse these trends.
Connecting retirement benefits to the health benefit open enrollment period can dramatically increase 401(k) participation, found Bank of America Merrill Lynch. By providing easy “one-click” access to enroll in or make
Drive 401(k) participation by tying to Open Enrollment
contribution changes to 401(k) plans during open enrollment, employers have seen an increase in participation. The study showed an 11% year-over-year increase in the number of employees making a change to their retirement plan election as a result of the association with the health care open enrollment period. And nearly all of these election changes were positive (93%), meaning employees started or increased contributions to a plan.
A recent study by Fidelity and the NBGH revealed that employer spending on wellness programs grew 43% to $154/employee in 2010. This level of growth and investment provides evidence that wellness
Start with a Financial Health Assessment
initiatives are: (1) becoming much more comprehensive and (2) demonstrating tangible business value.
In our own experiences with HR professionals, we see the expansion every day. Wellness strategies are evolving and many employers are looking to better understand how employee money issues are impacting the productivity of their organization.
Sound overwhelming? Well, it doesn’t have to be.
Employees seek retirement advice from their employers
A majority of people have agreed they would like more guidance from their employer about how to achieve retirement goals according to the 11th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey.
Perhaps not surprisingly, employees with a higher overall education level are more likely to be financially well in retirement. Only 63% of employees with only a high school diploma participated in a retirement plan, as opposed to 84% of those with a college degree.
But all education levels showed a desire for direction from their employers.
Once upon a time, the number one priority for benefits programs was to attract, motivate and retain talented employees. That time was 2007. As the economy melted down and layoffs began, retention quickly took a backseat to benefits cost cutting priorities.
Benefits Communications Turn Risk Into Opportunity
As the economy improves, the tide may be turning once again according to several new studies. Here are some key findings:
- Up to 60% of top performing employees plan to leave their organization within the next year
- In October 2010, the number of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs surpassed involuntary terminations