Whether we like to admit it or not, work is a big part of life. The average person is predicted to spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. That equates to about one-third of a person’s entire life. With that staggering stat, it is clear why many want to feel comfortable and supported while at work.
There have been great strides made when it comes to mental and physical health in the workplace. Another major life factor behind an employee’s well-being that employers are starting to make note of is financial wellness. Which starts with a solid base of financial knowledge.
Offering financial knowledge to employees is good for the bottom line.
Employees who feel financially well in a workplace are more engaged and productive. This correlates to a win-win for both the company and the employee.
Employees who are having a hard time paying bills, managing bank accounts, and staying on top of debt obligations can experience a lot of anxiety. This anxiety makes it difficult for them to focus and make long-term plans. Often, the reason why people struggle with finances is due to a lack of financial knowledge.
Canadian surveys surrounding financial wellness were conducted, showing:
- Around half of Canadian employees are distracted at work by financial concerns.
- Also, 40% of Canadians are financially unwell, leading to a loss of productivity.
Luckily, some companies have caught on to how much impact finances have on a person’s life. They’re begun offering financial tools and programs to assist employees in myriad ways. There are many examples and different forms this takes.
Ways companies are increasing employee financial knowledge and help
Many new movements are occurring within companies that provide extra support to employees.
This is a small sample of some of the more unique financial tools, and benefits companies are implementing.
Charitable contribution matching
Companies supporting issues their employees care for can create a sense of community. This can be done through employee matching gift programs.
Student debt assistance
Some companies have begun helping employees with student loans. This is occasionally through small chunks of $50-$100 that help pay off debt. Some companies are even offering payment matching.
More insurance options
More insurance options are being offered to help employees in various situations.
Life – Some companies offer policies that pay out the cost of funeral expenses, around $20,000. Premiums are typically affordable for most businesses.
Disability – This replaces income for those unable to work because of sickness or accidents. These plans cover around 60% of employees’ salaries.
Pet – Companies have come to realize just how important pets are to their employees. That’s why companies are offering to help take care of them by way of pet insurance.
More paid time off flexibility
Employers have offered paid time off for holidays, vacations, and sick leave for some time. However, now many are going beyond that.
Volunteering – Companies give employees paid time off so they can do volunteer work.
Mental health days – Many companies offer paid time off so employees can focus on their mental health.
Help with improving employee financial knowledge
Some companies implement benefits and programs to improve employees’ financial literacy. Here are some examples of what they are offering:
Providing courses – Companies are providing employees with more financial knowledge by way of courses. These courses teach the importance of credit scores, budgeting, credit card management, and retirement planning.
Offering Coaching – Direct coaching is provided to help employees with personal finances.
Lifestyle Spending Accounts
A Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA) provides employees with capital for whatever they need. Employees can choose how and where the money in their LSA is spent. This can be a rain day fund, rent mortgage, or whatever the employees choose.
Removing barriers to contributing to RRSP
Registered Retirement Saving Plans (RRSP) are essential when building retirement savings. However, it can be onerous to access. Companies are providing easier access to this program. Here are some of the more notable implementations:
Automaton – A lot of companies have automated much of their RRSP program functions like contributions, deductions, enrollment, and increases. Employees can even request that all or a part of bonuses or lump sum payments go directly to their RRSP.
Matching -Through a Group Retirement Savings Plan, employees can direct an amount of every pay cheque into a registered account. The employer matches the employee’s contribution into the plan dollar for dollar. Usually, this is up to a certain amount or percentage of the employee’s salary.
Incentivising being ready for financially hard times and helping when they happen
Instilling good financial knowledge also includes prepping employees for hard times. Here are some of the programs put in place that assist employees in hard times:
Small loans – Some companies are offering the option to take out small loans that are paid back by auto pay deduction.
Offering bonuses – Companies are now incentivizing financial literacy by providing rewards (financial or otherwise) to employees who complete them.
Real-life examples of companies offering these benefits.
All of these benefits and tools are already being implemented by many companies. Here are some examples:
Fidelity Investments Inc. offers financial wellness services to their client’s employees. This is an add-on to their service and is free of charge.
Dillon Consulting has a program to help employees pay down student debt.
Bell Canada offers donation matching to employees’ favourite nonprofits.
A better understanding of things like credit scores, credit cards, credit reports, and more can help improve your financial wellness and overall well-being. That is why employers providing tools to make employees more financially literate can be so powerful. Through these programs, employees can gain more financial knowledge and be more financially confident. This confidence opens them up to feel better and work better. This, in turn, improves the company’s performance.
If you are seeking to improve your financial knowledge or position, Consolidated Credit can help. Our team of Credit Counsellors can help get you in the best position possible to achieve your long-term financial goals.