“Finan­cial Well­ness” is get­ting a lot of buzz these days — and for good rea­son!  After all, today’s work­force is over­whelmed by mount­ing stu­dent debt and oth­er ris­ing expenses.

Finan­cial well­ness refers to a person’s over­all finan­cial health and is one of many fac­tors that makes up employ­ee well­be­ing.  We often think of well­be­ing as relat­ed to phys­i­cal and men­tal health, but finan­cial stress impacts a person’s health as well.  When employ­ees are stressed about their finan­cial sit­u­a­tion it effects their pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, atten­dance and engage­ment in the workplace.

Orga­ni­za­tions are con­tin­u­al­ly look­ing for ways to stay com­pet­i­tive and have an advan­tage in attract­ing and retain­ing qual­i­fied employ­ees. With the cur­rent eco­nom­ic con­di­tions, peo­ple are look­ing for jobs that offer more than just paid time off and health insur­ance.  There­fore, many busi­ness­es have turned their focus to employ­ee finan­cial well­ness pro­grams to add val­ue to their com­pen­sa­tion pack­ages.  More than  51% of orga­ni­za­tions offer finan­cial well­ness ini­tia­tives and 29% of com­pa­nies are inter­est­ed in launch­ing finan­cial well­ness pro­grams. Offered as a vol­un­tary ben­e­fit, finan­cial well­ness pro­grams send employ­ees a valu­able mes­sage, let­ting them know their com­pa­ny cares about them and is ready to extend a help­ing hand to those in need.

The goal of imple­ment­ing a finan­cial well­ness pro­gram is to sup­port and improve the finan­cial health of employ­ees by pro­vid­ing tools and resources to help them man­age their cur­rent finances, pro­tect against unfore­seen finan­cial hard­ships, and plan for a finan­cial­ly secure future.

Let’s take a look at some of the finan­cial well­ness solu­tions available:

  • Edu­ca­tion­al Pro­grams – An edu­ca­tion-focused pro­gram that equips employ­ees with the infor­ma­tion they need to plan for emer­gen­cies using cur­rent employ­er ben­e­fits. Finan­cial guid­ance ses­sions and finan­cial edu­ca­tion work­shops are avail­able via live chat that teach employ­ees about bud­get­ing, cred­it scores, retire­ment sav­ings and sav­ings accounts.
  • Employ­er Match­ing Pro­grams – A match­ing pro­gram involves an employ­er match­ing a cer­tain per­cent­age of con­tri­bu­tions that employ­ees make to their 401k, stu­dent loan repay­ment or a 529 (col­lege sav­ings) fund.
  • Finan­cial Assis­tance Pro­grams – These pro­grams focus on alter­na­tive stres­sors employ­ees might not have con­sid­ered as a fac­tor in their finan­cial health. These include med­ical bill zero-inter­est financ­ing, med­ical bill nego­ti­a­tion, relo­ca­tion assis­tance and stock options.
  • Insur­ance Options – Employ­ers can con­sid­er includ­ing alter­na­tive insur­ance pro­grams such as long-term care insur­ance, pet insur­ance, adop­tion and fer­til­i­ty insur­ance, acci­dent insur­ance, crit­i­cal ill­ness insur­ance, and life and dis­abil­i­ty insurance.

Over the past year, employ­ee finan­cial dis­tress has inten­si­fied, which means it’s the per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring finan­cial edu­ca­tion into your work­place.  It won’t be easy.  Reduc­ing finan­cial stress and improv­ing finan­cial health for your employ­ees takes a com­pre­hen­sive plan, but it will be worth the invest­ment.  Your com­mit­ment to pri­or­i­tiz­ing finan­cial health will help improve the lives of your employ­ees.  Finan­cial­ly healthy employ­ees are health­i­er and hap­pi­er; they are bet­ter for the company’s bot­tom line.