Enabling financial wellness for your employees doesn’t have to be hard

If you are having trouble talking to your co-workers about personal problems, you are not alone. Most companies can handle marginal discussions, but very few have mastered having tough, face-to-face conversations with employees.

This is particularly noticeable in personal finances. We got used to talking about wellness – but not addressing things like personal vacation programs, life insurance, 401 (k) s, mental health resources – but directly. For health organizations, this is quite paradoxical: organizations built on making the lives of others better often struggle to do the same for their own employees.

Make no mistake: the financial stress of employees is damaging your company. According to our survey of nearly 3,000 US workers, half of all healthcare workers said they had experienced significant financial stress in the past week. This is extremely important as the relationship between empathic care and attention to patient safety has been shown to be negatively affected by financial hardship.

Clearly, it is in the best interests of both healthcare companies and their employees to develop solutions that can improve employee financial well-being in measurable and truly impactful ways.

Renown Health is launching an impactful financial wellness program

Rown Health had these tough conversations. As the premier healthcare system in northern Nevada, Renown Health is Reno’s only nonprofit healthcare system that consists of a network of hospitals, emergency centers, laboratory services, x-ray and imaging services, general practitioners, and dozens of medical specialties.

With more than 7,200 employees from diverse backgrounds and needs, Renown wanted to implement a benefit program that got them where they are. They chose a free Salary Finance financial wellbeing program that included a salary-linked loan product.

If you’re unfamiliar with salary-related financial wellness benefits, they allow employees to borrow or save money directly through their paycheck. Salary-linked loans give employees access to affordable credit that they can easily pay back on their salary, helping them settle existing debts or avoid high-interest credit cards, overdraft fees, or, God forbid, payday loans. In Nevada, the typical APR on a payday loan is 652 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending. Salary Finance employee loans range from 5.9 to 19.9 annual percentage rate (APR), making them more affordable for employees who might otherwise be forced to turn to more expensive debt.

The partnership between Renown and Salary Finance helps improve the financial wellbeing of Renown employees by accelerating their journey from debt to savings and providing them with an affordable credit option in times of need. It also includes a financial education component that helps employees understand their current state of financial fitness and access a financial content curriculum tailored to their needs.

After an implementation of less than four weeks, Salary Finance went live with Renown in November 2019. Since inception, over 40 percent of Renown’s employees have seen the Salary Finance offering, and over 500 have access to affordable Credit Center for Financial Welfare through Renown’s Custom Salary Finance offering.

One employee said, “It made a wonderful impression and relieved my frequent stress about my debt.”

In line with other Salary Finance employers, Renown Health employees borrowed primarily to pay off existing debts and for other necessary purposes such as medical bills, rental deposits, and car repairs. Overall, we estimate Renown employees saved nearly $ 275,000 in interest – and that number continues to grow as more employees take advantage of the benefits.

“This loan came at a time when my family and I really needed it, when bills were piling up and Christmas was coming,” said another Renown employee. “Salary Finance really saved the day.”

The financial well-being of your employees is increasingly your business as it can have an impact on your business. Like Renown, you can start by understanding the benefits available and finding those that have a measurable impact on employee financial well-being.

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