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.
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.
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.
40-52% of workers are delaying their retirement.
70 is the “new 65,” according to Sun Life Financial. Their Unretirement Index, along with Towers Watson’s 2010 Global Workforce Study, show that 40-52% of Americans will delay their retirement due to ill financial health.
Towers Watson found 68% of those workers will continue working in order to keep their health care coverage, while 61% cited their lacking 401(k) plans as the reason for staying. Sun Life found that only 25% are “very confident” they will be able to cover medical expenses in retirement.
Better education leads to higher FSA enrollment, which saves employers money on taxes.
Good benefits communication can raise employee Flexible Spending Account enrollment by 20% or more, a recent study found. The benefits of an FSA may be obvious to the seasoned HR Director, but not all employees – or employers – know how valuable these accounts can be.
Both employee and employer enjoy significant tax savings when FSAs are used. Employees save on federal and FICA taxes, plus any additional state and local taxes on medical items paid for through their FSA.
If you’re a student of employee wellness programs, and if you’re reading this blog, I can assume that you are, you might be interested in a recent Employee Benefits News Blog that breaks down the “7 Emerging
Mega-Trends That Will Change Wellness Communication… Forever.”
Financial Wellness is a Key Component of your Wellness Strategy
Note trend #7, “Snacking well and saving well are connected.” The study notes that smart wellness programs integrate financial and health literacy topics. More and more, traditional health wellness companies and employers alike are beginning to recognize employee financial health issues as a key issue to address in a complete wellness program.
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Historically, presenteeism has been a word used to describe sick employees
Financial Wellness ROI
who “tough it out” and come to work but operate far below normal productivity. But, there are many types of presenteeism. There could be any number of reasons why an employee checks out and productivity suffers. And, while presenteeism is a relatively new term, you likely have some established policies in place for helping employees stay focused at work. For instance, over half of US companies have blocked access to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Presenteeism, in its entirety, is a huge productivity issue that far exceeds that of absenteeism.