One of my biggest regrets in my (almost) 30 years of life is not taking my personal finances more seriously. I think most of my generational cohorts would empathize.
The big bad student loan wolf really threw us for a loop.
Believe it or not, this predicament presents an opportunity for employers. That opportunity is to foster financial wellness with today’s new workforce mostly comprised of millennials like myself.
For employers, financial wellness is a program or set of programs designed to improve employees’ financial behavior and outcomes while also driving business impact. For employees, financial wellness is holistic and defined by health, not wealth.
Of course financial wellness can mean something different for everyone, but there’s one thing we can all agree on: Saving money makes us happy!
If you’re an employer, and you’re putting together a new or improved financial wellness program, here are three elements your program should include—and my millennial friends will agree, because I did my research.
- Employer-Sponsored Savings Accounts
We have all had an unexpected “money shock” in our lives—unexpected illness, weather damage to our homes, cars breaking down—and we all know how stressful these life events can be. Imagine if your employer stepped up to offer some much needed guidance? Boy, I can’t tell you how much that would mean to me, especially when my 1950s bungalow flooded three months after I moved in. Welcome to home ownership!
Employer-sponsored savings accounts would let employees divert a portion of their paychecks into easily accessible savings accounts to help build emergency funds. Why should employers care about helping their employees navigate at-home emergencies? Well, first and foremost, showing your employees you genuinely care not only improves employee retention and employee happiness, it builds loyalty. It’s also important because financial problems at home can cause distractions at work. When an employee is more stressed about a major life event or financial crisis at home, they’re more likely to take time off work, thereby costing the company money.
- Employee Discount Programs
I’ll refer back to my above comment: Saving money makes us happy! “Us” being the employees—and everyone for that matter. What better way to save your employees money than offering them discounts through an employee discount program like viperks.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, today’s workforce—mostly comprised of millennials—is shifting toward valuing experiences over large paychecks. They’re “meaning makers,” not “ladder climbers”. This means they would rather spend their hard earned dollars on making a difference in their lives and those around them. With an employee discount program, your evolving workforce will be able to save time and money that they can allocate to other things that make them happy (read: donating money to a cause, spending quality time with their loved ones during the holidays).
Offering your employees a discount program also gives them a sense of independence, especially if you give them some say in what you offering as part of this program. For instance, with viperks we have a “personal shopping assistant” where if you don’t see something you like, we’ll do our best to add it to our exclusive online-shopping platform. I don’t know about you, but that’s a program I can get behind.
- Personalized Financial Counseling
One of my favorite things to do at my job is to participate and put on “lunch-n-learn” programs. It seems as though this trend is growing. According to the Fidelity/National Business Group on Health survey, 82% of employers plan to offer programs like these in 2017. Nearly three-fourths (74%) plan to offer tools for key financial concerns such as mortgages wills and income protection. Seventy-one percent plan to offer resources to support emergency savings, debt management and budgeting. And last but not least, just a quarter of employers plan to offer student loan counseling or repayment assistance.
I personally believe more employers should offer student loan counseling. But hey, maybe us millennials will learn other useful tidbits like how we can own our own home one day and move out of our parents basements. I digress.
What kind of financial wellness programs would be most beneficial to you? We would love to hear from you. Comment below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.