- An annual survey from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) found that 84% of companies polled now include employee financial security in their wellness programs, up from 76% in 2016.
- Financial wellness benefits can include debt management tools; budgeting; student loan counseling and repayment plans; and assistance with mortgage, wills and income protection decision-making. Such programs are third in popularity among employees behind physical well-being (94%) and emotional well-being (87%).
- The survey also showed that 74% of organizations offer employee incentives averaging $742, up from $651 in 2016 and $521 in 2013. Incentives for spouses and domestic partners have increased by 47%, to an average of $694.
A previous report from Humana showed that financial problems are major stressors for employees. Fidelity SVP Adam Stavisky recommends that employers take a "health means wealth" approach to wellness programs, which means addressing financial security as a way to improve emotional well-being.
Long before wellness programs evolved in popularity, employee assistance programs (EAPs) provided help with handling financial problems in addition to behavioral and legal counseling. The fact that there is already a clear model for incorporating financial wellness demonstrates that this should be a natural transition for employers.
Even so, mental health is in the shadows; a survey cited at NBGH's 2017 Business Health Agenda conference showed that 74% of employees have encountered obstacles in their attempts to seek treatment for stress, depression and other mental health ailments.
Reducing stress is a clear win-win since impacted employees are also less productive. Absenteeism, tardiness and distraction on the job are crucial symptoms. Employers should get out in front of these warning signs and assist employees in fortifying all aspects of their well-being.