Rhonda Marcucci, founder of Gruppo Marcucci (GPM), is a respected industry, observer, speaker and author of articles on topics pertaining to the HR and Benefits Administration technology and outsourcing industry. For up-to-the-minute insights from industry conferences, follow Rhonda on Twitter.
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Financial is Latest in Wellness
Posted on 10/16/2014
Wellness continues to be a hot topic in the HR Benefits arena, but the latest twist is all about financial wellness. Joint research from the University of Wisconsin and the Financial Fitness Group found the cost of financial stress to employers averages $2,000 per year, per employee. Moreover, the result is lost profit and productivity to the tune of $100 billion annually! Following are some key takeaways from the recent EBN Benefits Forum & Expo – Workplace Benefits Summit?
Numerous studies document the growing number of workers distracted by financial worries. The University of Wisconsin/Financial Fitness Group study found more than one-third of US employees live paycheck to paycheck and have significant stress about money. Further, some 50 million employees suffer from severe stress about money, impacting nearly every aspect of the lives–including work.
Financial wellness calls for unique approach. Why? The topic is intimidating to many. A lack of a common language scares off those who don’t want to feel/look “dumb.” There’s a general lack of knowledge of available resources, compounded by the need for expert resources (beyond basic financial counselor). Privacy is key! Approached correctly, HR professionals report that employees will embrace financial wellness because they KNOW they are bad at it!
Reaching out to employees on financial wellness is not one-size-fits all. Personal values and culture can impact receptivity and responsiveness. Know your audience and look to “influencers” (e.g., women’s groups, ethnic clubs) to help get your message out, but check with a diversity professional to ensure appropriate/legal messages and strategy!
The impact of financial stress on worker productivity is news to many employers. Where it is on employers’ radar screens, employer responses range from minimal (financial counselor available through EAP) to maximum (full suite of counseling with access to credit). A reasonable mid-range goal: Financial wellness test with counselor review–timed before open enrollment to allow employees to make timely, smart choices.
There’s no real downside to augmenting a wellness strategy by adding financial wellness to the mix. The University of Wisconsin/Financial Fitness study found providing five hours of financial wellness online education per year to all US employees would save $21 billion+ in lost profits/productivity.
Wellness solutions should be thought of as business solutions. One proof point: a case study documenting a company whose customer call center satisfaction ratings were higher for service reps enrolled in wellness programs.
Whether the physical, social, emotional or financial health of employees, employers pay the price for unhealthy employees as the whole person comes to work…not just one part. All areas of wellness–particularly financial–will be an important issue for employers groups for the foreseeable future. If you want to chat about any of these financial wellness insights, or need assistance with identifying and assessing wellness service providers in the market, email Rhonda at Rhonda@gruppomarcucci-usa.com.
Gruppo Marcucci (GPM), a division of Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc., provides outsourcing intelligence and associated consulting to stakeholders in the Benefits and HR Technology & Outsourcing industry. Our in-depth understanding of the service provider market and our vast experience sourcing and implementing solutions is key to our clients achieving full operational success.
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