Why employers would be wise to check in on their financial wellness culture

It is unreasonable for employers to expect their employees to come back to the office, smile, and get back to work. You need help. (Photo: Shutterstock)

As COVID-19 vaccinations rise and states relax restrictions, millions of Americans return to the office. But that doesn’t mean that everything in the workplace will go back to its pre-pandemic path. In fact, many things won’t – and that’s a good thing.

One of those positive wake-up calls is the employer’s role in helping employees achieve real financial wellbeing. As employers looked closely at how to improve the benefit packages, HR decision-makers ranked financial wellbeing as the most important benefit they want to add in the next few years, according to Ramsey Solutions’ SmartDollar Financial Wellness Benefits Study 2021.

Related: We Can Do Better: Make Financial Wellbeing an Essential Workplace

Why? Employees who take control of their money bring less stress to the office and are more engaged and productive.

True financial wellbeing is when employees. . .

  • Be in control of your daily finances
  • Have enough cushion to face most financial emergencies
  • Are debt free and able to manage their expenses without the use of a credit card
  • Are on track to meet age and savings goals

Now more than ever

In The State of Personal Finance 2021 Q1, a separate study by Ramsey Solutions, we get a clearer view and understanding of the need for employers to help their employees with their finances. In the study, Americans ranked personal finances and money as the number one cause of significant stress for them. In fact, 43% of Americans worry about their finances every day, and 34% lose sleep because of it. Almost half (47%) of Americans are always worried about having an emergency they cannot afford. This is where millennials are most concerned (64%) and they make up the majority of the workforce.

Given this data, it is inappropriate for employers to expect their employees to come back to the office, smile, and get back to work. You need help. Most of all, they need the right help. Unfortunately, some of what is referred to as “financial well-being” is really just junk. Many “financial wellness” benefits encourage bad money behavior by selling credit products and leading users into more dangerous debt habits. Employees need better things.

State of mind of employees

The pandemic has had an unimaginable impact on people’s lives. There was loss, stress, and instability. However, the State of Personal Finance 2021 Study shows that as recently as March 2021, 45% of Americans said they were often grateful and 43% were often happy. Although they are currently feeling restrained by their financial situation, eight out of ten Americans with debt believe they can become debt free. Similarly, nearly eight in ten Americans (79%) are confident about their personal finances in the coming year.

Employer. The ball is your playing field.

June is National Employee Wellness Month and employees are returning to the office. There has never been a better time for companies to show their employees that they care about them and their families by offering real financial education to their benefit package. Teaching employees to budget, save for the future, and retire with confidence is what people want most. There is no better benefit in 2021 than financial wellbeing.

It can’t wait any longer.

Sara Kidwell is vice president of SmartDollar, a financial wellness service from Ramsey Solutions.

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