Why Employees' Financial Wellness Matters to Small Businesses

The links between financial stress and work-related issues — productivity, absenteeism, and sick days— are well-documented and widespread. More than half (53%) of workers report being stressed about their finances, and nearly one in three employees says that issues with personal finances have been a distraction at work.1 For small firms, every employee must be present and focused to keep the business humming.

Here are three steps small business owners can take to help improve employees’ financial wellness and the company's bottom line.

  1. Determine what employees need to learn. Never assume you know what's going on in employees' financial lives. Some highly-paid employees may be saddled with student loan debt, and others may be spending significant money to care for an elderly relative or a sick child. Conduct a quick survey to find out what kinds of financial concerns or issues most interest your workers.
  2. Start with the basics. Focus on budgeting skills, debt repayment, building emergency funds and basic retirement planning before jumping into investment options. Consider asking your accountant, financial planner or 401(k) provider to make presentations at a monthly “lunch and learn" event, or leverage online education. For instance, organizations like the National Financial Educators Council offer financial literacy programs that your employees can complete on their own time.
  3. Consider a financial wellness program. Growing numbers of employers are launching financial wellness programs for their employees to boost productivity and foster lasting relationships with their employees. According to Aon Hewitt, 78% of employers believe that a financial wellness program will boost employee engagement.2

Business owners who take initiative to boost financial wellness across their workforces will help improve employees' financial lives and health while protecting their business' bottom line. In fact, their investment in financial wellness programs is estimated to provide a return of $3 for every $1 invested thanks to increased productivity and reduced sick leave.3

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