Employers Showing More Concern Over Workers’ Financial Wellness

Financial wellbeing in the workplace is no longer a “nice to have” – it is a “must have,” said Matt Bahl, vice president and head of financial health in the workplace for the Financial Health Network.

On Tuesday, Bahl discussed the latest trends in financial wellness in the LIMRA virtual annual conference.

Employers will either maintain or increase their investment in health financial services over the next two years, Bahl said. He referred to the results of a survey conducted by his organization that found that 56% of employers plan to spend the same amount on the financial health of their employees and 29% plan to spend more.

A large majority of employers surveyed (86%) said they were aware of their employees’ financial health issues, while only around half (54%) took steps to incorporate employee financial health into their company’s HR strategy.

The rise in teleworking has given employers more insight into workers’ private lives, Bahl said, and employers have become more aware of what is going on with their workers. But they struggle to meet the needs of the workers.

Retirement planning is where workers say they need the most help from their employers, Bahl said. 53% said they needed help. Second is planning for the future of their families, with 50% of workers saying they need help while 46% of workers saying they need help setting up emergency savings.

“There are enormous opportunities for innovation here,” he says. “Many of these innovations focus on how people can be supported in their daily lives.”

Innovation solution trends

“Employers no longer ask, ‘Why should I care about financial wellbeing?'” Said Bahl. “You ask, ‘What can I do about it?'”

He listed five emerging trends in workplace health innovation.

  1. Payroll / Paycheck Solutions. Emerging innovations focus on the employee paycheck as an essential building block of financial health and seek to develop connections and integration at the paycheck level.
  2. Platform vs. point solution. Employers alternate between comprehensive platform solutions and non-selective solutions that address specific problems. For this reason, objective views of “what works and for whom” are the key to market differentiation and are increasingly sought after by employers.
  3. Resolve the fallacy “Field of Dreams”. Just because you’re building it doesn’t mean employees are coming. Employers are re-evaluating their assessment practices, including examining how they can provide a more integrated employee experience.
  4. HR and financial services. From loans and debts to rental, home and mortgage assistance, employers need to get smarter about a wider range of financial solutions.
  5. Innovation in diversity, equity and inclusion is emerging and needed. Employers are urged to consider how they can incorporate DE&I concepts into their overall rewards promotional benefit design. A lot of knowledge is gained, but very few product adjustments or demonstrations of how existing solutions close DE&I disparities.

Susan Rupe is Senior Editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She previously worked as a communications director for an association of insurance agents and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact them at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.

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