Employers Showing More Concern Over Workers’ Financial Wellness
Financial wellness in the workplace is no longer a “nice to have” – it’s a “must have,” according to Matt Bahl, vice president and head of workplace financial health at Financial Health Network.
Bahl discussed the latest trends in financial wellness during Tuesday’s portion of the LIMRA virtual annual conference.
Employers are either maintaining or increasing their investment in financial health benefits over the next two years, Bahl said. He pointed to the results of a survey his organization conducted that showed 56% of employers plan to spend the same amount of money on their workers’ financial health and 29% plan to spend more.
A vast majority of the employers surveyed (86%) said they were aware of their workers’ financial health challenges while only about half (54%) have taken steps to incorporate workers’ financial health into their company’s human resource strategy.
The growth of remote work has given employers more insight into workers’ private lives, Bahl said, and employers became more aware of what was going on with their workers. But they struggle to meet workers’ needs.
Building retirement savings is the area in which workers say they need the most help from their employers, Bahl said, with 53% saying they need help. Planning for their families’ future came in second with 50% of workers saying they need help, while 46% of workers said they need help building emergency savings.
“There are huge opportunities for innovation here,” he said. “A lot of that innovation is centered on how to support people in their daily lives.”
Innovation Solution Trends
“Employers no longer asking ‘Why should I care about financial wellness?’” Bahl said. “They are asking “What can I do about it?’”
He listed five emerging trends in workplace financial health innovation.
- Payroll/paycheck level solutions. Emerging innovations are focused on the employee paycheck as the essential building block of financial health and seeking to develop connection and integration at the paycheck level.
- Platform vs. point solution. Employers go back and forth between comprehensive platform solutions as opposed to point solutions that address specific problems. This is why objective views of “what works and for whom” are the keys to market differentiation and something employers are increasingly looking for.
- Solving the “Field of Dreams” fallacy. Just because you build it doesn’t mean employees will come. Employers are reevaluating their assessment practices and also looking at how they provide a more integrated employee experience.
- HR and financial services. From credit and debt to rent, housing and mortgage support, employers must get smarter about a broader range of financial solutions.
- Diversity, equity and inclusion innovation is coming and is needed. Employers are being pushed to look at how they can integrate DE&I concepts into their total reward ad benefit design. A lot of insights are being generated but very little product adaptation or demonstration of how existing solutions close DE&I disparities.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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