- Employer financial wellness offerings are up, but employee benefit use hasn't exactly followed, according to a report from Bank of America.
- Fifty-three percent of employers surveyed said they offer financial wellness benefits, compared to 24% four years ago, according to the 2019 Workplace Benefits Report. Meanwhile, only 55% of employees consider their financial wellness good or excellent, down from 61% last year.
- The report also outlines a lack of employee awareness and understanding of certain benefits, including health care savings and caregiving support. Nearly half (45%) of surveyed employees reported having some caregiver responsibilities but 62% said their employer is unaware of those commitments. Eighty-eight percent of employers reported offering some form of caregiver benefit, but the majority of workers (71%) are unaware of what's available to them and only a third have used the resources their employer provides.
Employers have identified a need and begun implementing financial wellness programming as a workplace benefit, but Bank of America's findings show that utilization and knowledge gaps remain for those and other benefits.
The disconnect around caregiving benefits is particularly notable for employers. When employees are stressed, productivity takes a hit, which has real financial implications for employers. Many have said they're concerned about even discussing their caregiving responsibilities for fear it will negatively impact their career, and a substantial number say they've quit a job to meet caregiving demands. But as Bank of America notes, if employers can boost participation in caregiving benefits, engagement and retention may benefit.
"We create, to a certain extent, an artificial shortage of talent that employers say they want because we're missing one of the huge drivers of people leaving the workforce," Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School Joseph B. Fuller previously told HR Dive. "The costs associated with voluntary turnover and lost productivity — through presenteeism, through distraction — driven by caretaking duties are much more substantial than employers take into account."