Counting down to payday is a stressful, but all too common practice. Unfortunately, an August 2017 CareerBuilder survey found that the vast majority (78 percent) of the 3,462 full-time U.S. workers polled said they live paycheck to paycheck. This isn’t just the employees’ problem. Financial stress hurts everything from productivity and performance to morale and satisfaction at work, making it an employers’ problem, too. For these reasons, more employers are opting to provide financial wellness assistance to their employees.
Free financial education
To improve where they stand financially, employees need to first focus on becoming more financially literate. Interestingly, employees at BambooHR, an HR software company based in Lindon, Utah, actually get paid to complete a class on financial savviness.
The course, called “Financial Peace,” has not only helped them gain a better understanding of their finances, employees say, but also given them peace of mind. “It just clicked for me,” Kelsie Davis, a BambooHR employee, says in a company YouTube video. “The small sacrifices now have big payoffs later.” Since taking the class, graduates have been able to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and also begin saving more, the company reports. To give your own employees the same sense of financial knowledge and peace, offer access to financial literacy tools and programs that walk employees through the basics of budgeting, reducing debt and saving.
Student-loan debt is on the rise, making it a top financial concern for many employees. Yet, a January 2017 WorldatWork report found that just 4 percent of the more than 40,000 employers it surveyed provided loan-repayment benefits. The good news is that employers are starting to realize why these benefits are vital to their staffers’ financial fitness.
Jeff Oldham, the senior vice president of global and institutional markets at Benefitfocus, a benefits-enrollment software company in Charleston, S.C., said that repayment assistance is a top benefit his company’s clients like to offer. “Student loan debt continues to rise in this country, surpassing credit card debt,” Oldham wrote in an email. “It’s a crisis that threatens consumer finances and workplace productivity; as a result, many employers are evaluating options to help employees manage this debt.”
Employers of all sizes can match student-loan repayments through online services. It’s also important to teach employees how to use a college-repayment account. Employees simply automate transfers to the account, then apply it to their loans each month.
Access to emergency loans
It’s hard enough as it is for employees to cover the rising cost of living. So, when an unprecedented issue arises, like car maintenance or a medical emergency, they’re left scrambling to cover the bill. This concern is more common than employers think. A January 2017 survey from Bankrate found that nearly 60 percent of the 1,003 Americans surveyed said they couldn’t cover the cost of a $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room visit. Worse, they said they hold off on necessary services — like basic health care — until they can afford it.