How financial wellness incentives can help attract and keep talent

A year of pandemic uncertainty has made financial health a top concern for workers and employer-sponsored benefits a recruiting and retention tool.

For example, in the United States, employees who felt they had business benefits that improved their wellbeing also felt more productive, engaged, and less stressed and tired during the pandemic, according to a Metlife survey of more than 2,000 respondents.

But many companies fail to fully use these employer-sponsored programs as an incentive to recruit and retain talent. Programs include comprehensive health coverage and retirement benefits such as 401 (k) plans in the US and pension contributions in Australia.

“It will be very important for employers to make sure they have the right retirement fund that matches their demographic trends,” said Andrea Piaia, Melbourne-based director of retirement at global consulting firm Willis Towers Watson. “For many organizations that have had their super funds for many years and haven’t really done a review, this is an integral part of it.”

Even before the pandemic, a majority underestimated the impact of performance on employee performance, commitment and loyalty, as an Accenture survey from 2019 shows.

More than half of the respondents in the Accenture survey said retirement benefits were a deciding factor in whether they took a job (68%) or stayed (62%). Around 5,000 employees in ten countries were interviewed for the survey.

The survey also found that 84% of respondents would like help with retirement and retirement planning and 82% with coaching. But less than half of them are receiving training and coaching on personal finance (41%), and 43% said their employers do not provide planning assistance.

In the Metlife survey, 59% of respondents indicated that their employers have provided benefits and programs to support and improve the wellbeing of employees, which generally included life, dentures and disability benefits. Employers who exceeded expectations also offered voluntary benefits such as serious illness, hospital compensation, and financial wellness programs.

Metlife respondents who felt mentally, physically, financially, and socially healthy during the pandemic were more likely to be loyal, engaged, and productive than those who rated their well-being as less healthy.

“The way people look at companies has changed – especially employees. We expect companies to make a positive contribution to the community and that goes beyond paying a salary package, ”said Arlyne Chinyanganya, CGMA, ACMA, a London-based finance manager at UK telecommunications company giffgaff.

Tailored employee advice

Chinyanganya has launched a financial wellness program called Root to Froots to support local community members who are under financial stress. At giffgaff, she runs a program for individual advice for all employees who want financial advice.

She believes that financial wellbeing should be the focus of efforts to retain, recruit and retain employees. “Financial wellbeing has to be a corporate goal, so everyone is working to improve the corporate culture,” she said. “That’s how I did it, and it was very easy to get buy-in just because we had a crazy time last year.”

Re-evaluate retirement programs

In developed economies, the burden of pension planning increasingly falls on the shoulders of the individual. This can become stressful, especially if busy employees do not have the time, information, or training to prepare long-term financial plans.

In Australia, employers are required to pay government-prescribed pension contributions to a fund for their employees. Employees can make additional contributions, sacrifice part of their input tax salary to their assets, and make payments into their spouse’s assets.

Regulators closely monitor the performance and fee-to-return ratio of these various “super” funds. Also, the pandemic rekindled the debate about the primary purpose of pension insurance after the government put in place a temporary measure that would allow people to withdraw $ 10,000 as financial ballast during the pandemic.

The recent crisis has made it more important for companies to review the eligibility of their employee loss funds, Piaia said

As workforce numbers and demographics have changed over time, the suitability of these arrangements has not been considered, she said. Employers should look at it through the lens of insurance fees, costs, and investment offerings. This becomes even more important as proposed Australian government legislation to “pin” workers to their current funds throughout their working lives becomes a requirement.

Collaborate and communicate

Taulia, a US-based supply chain management and finance software company, provides professional services to its employees who can provide expertise on saving and investing, as well as various types of compensation and tools for saving and spending. For retirement, Taulia offers all employees retirement benefits in accordance with local customs. In Europe, for example, Taulia contributes to pension plans. In the US, Taulia has a 401 (k) match, an employer contribution to an employer-funded retirement plan that allows employees to invest a portion of their pre-tax profits.

Financial wellness programs that don’t find widespread participation may be tailored for a limited demographic, benefits may not be well communicated, or employees may not see the benefits, said Rene Ho, Taulia CFO. “We want to offer programs with broad participation. We collect feedback from employees and try to improve the programs if necessary. The communication of programs in a holistic strategy is also important. “

The collaboration between HR and finance can make a difference, said Ho, from San Francisco. “Human resources are characterized by their understanding of what matters to people, and their different needs and finances can assess affordability and competitiveness.”

– Luke O’Neill is an Australia-based freelance writer and owner of Genuine Communications. To comment on this article or suggest an idea for another article, contact Sabine Vollmer, Senior Editor of FM-Magazin, at [email protected]

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