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It’s Never Too Soon To Talk About Financial Wellness Programs

Sean Manning is CEO and Founder of Payroll Vault Franchising LLC, as well as a CPA and Thought Leader in the Financial Field.

As a payroll service professional and an employer, I can say with some authority that staff appreciate an employer who looks out for their well-being and wants to give them what they’re looking for in a job.

Compensation plays a big role in employee satisfaction, but a competitive paycheck alone doesn’t often cut it. Staff often have needs beyond just money that an employer can help fill, and the ones who do are often the ones employees will stick by, even through tough times. These perks can be the key to cultivating a loyal workforce, and the best way I've found to manage these benefits is through a financial wellness program.

Managing The Perks

While many companies offer compensation beyond a paycheck, few of them have a financial wellness program. A 2023 Transamerica Institute report shows that only 28% of surveyed employers offer such a program, despite 77% of surveyed employees saying it’s a priority for them. So, what exactly are these programs?

A financial wellness program is a staff education program; the employer provides employees with informational resources to inform them about the benefits the company offers, how to participate and the value of participation. In other words, a financial wellness program is a way to manage company benefits by giving staff what they need to make informed decisions. The types of benefits managed through these programs cover a wide range of non-monetary compensation. Some of the most popular benefits include the following.

? Health and/or life insurance.

? Retirement plans.

? Vacation days/paid time off.

? Cafeteria/125 plans.

? Stock options.

? Employee education opportunities.

? Business travel expenses.

? Access to financial advisors.

Getting Started

Whether your company is well-established and looking for ways to improve operations or hasn’t had its grand opening yet, it’s never too early to start creating a financial wellness program for it.

Implementing a program like this often takes about three to six months. However, you’ll typically see results in much less time. In fact, I've found the results are usually seen immediately in the form of employee benefit participation, increased workforce satisfaction and improved morale as staff members gain a better understanding of the benefits available to them and start getting the most out of the benefits your business offers.

An added benefit to your business is that financial wellness programs serve as good sources of staff input. Through the program, you can solicit employee suggestions and comments on what kind of benefits they would like to see, which can help you refine your benefits to get the most employee retention possible.

In my experience, creating a program like this is best done with help. You’ll be well served assembling a team of advisors to create your program. Make sure to include your insurance specialists, payroll specialists, tax advisors and an attorney. These professionals will ensure you cover all the bases to give your staff comprehensive overviews of how your benefits work and which ones are available and best suited for each employee. Additionally, having your attorney review your benefits will help make sure you cover all your legal requirements as an employer.

Creating Employee Perks

Once you’ve got a team assembled, start considering your employees’ and their financial situations. Look at their take-home pay, the benefits package(s) you provide and any signs of financial insecurity, such as requests for advances on paychecks, staff not using direct deposit, turning down retirement plan enrollment and a turnover rate higher than your industry’s average.

Once you’ve gathered as much information as you can ahead of time, it’s time to speak directly with the staff. Survey and/or interview your employees to find out what they have to say about their own financial situations and what they’d like help achieving. Things to ask about can include work-related stress, outstanding debts they’re paying off, investments they’ve made and financial education they’d like to have available.

Design your program to meet the needs, concerns and interests of your staff; don’t be afraid to get staff input during the planning process to make sure you’re providing what your staff is looking for.

Lastly, launch the program and monitor the performance. Pay attention to how satisfied the staff is, how their financial situations change after the program’s been active for a while and any requests and/or suggestions on how to improve the program.

Once the program is set up, your advisors can likely handle running it. However, bigger companies may need to hire full-time program managers to handle the organization and coordination.

Interest Paid On Interest Invested In Your People

For employers, your staff members are an asset you shouldn’t take for granted. Recent economic events have shown employees won’t stay where they feel they’re not valued; global data analytics company Statista reported that while resignation numbers are back to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels, over 50 million Americans quit their jobs in 2022 alone, and from late 2021 to early 2022, about 4.5 million workers were resigning every month.

I think this event, known as the “Great Resignation,” is solid evidence of the value of listening to your staff and working with them, not using them. While a larger paycheck was an important factor in the reason many people quit, a lack of respect from their employers was also often a major factor.

When you take the time to talk to your staff, create programs to help them and make them feel like a valued member of your team, they may be more likely to stick by you through the hard times and bolster your business’ resilience.

The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.


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