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5 ways to help employees improve their financial wellness

employee healthAt many places of business today, the HR office has a high level of focus on corporate health and wellness. This has become a major point of emphasis as business leaders have realized the value of wellness. People who are healthy are far more likely to remain engaged and productive than people who aren’t.

However, promoting wellness is not as simple as merely doling out advice about eating well and exercising. Physical health is certainly important, but it’s only one small piece of a much larger puzzle.

One aspect that often goes overlooked is people’s financial health. When people have their money matters in order, they’re much better equipped to stay focused and productive each day. If finances are troubling them, not so much.

We typically overlook this problem, but according to Employee Benefit News, there’s data to prove that it’s very real. Recent survey data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows that when an employee suffers from severe financial stress, it costs the employer between $5,000 and $7,000 per year in lost productivity.

Given the staggering amount that companies stand to lose to financial wellness concerns, it makes sense to invest in addressing them. And EBN indeed reports that many companies are. The news source published the results of a January 2015 survey of HR decision-makers conducted by Alliant Credit Union, and the key finding was that about 40 percent of employers today are offering some sort of financial wellness program.

That’s just the beginning, though. We’re still only scratching the surface of how financial wellness programs can add value to a business, as Kathy Hall, vice president of business development at Alliant, told EBN.

“Financial wellness in the workplace is in its infancy,” Hall said. “Just as health wellness programs have changed dramatically over the past 10 years, financial wellness programs are being redefined.”

Companies are still looking for new ways to empower their people and dramatically improve their financial wellness. Below are five strategies that just might work:

Focus on retirement planning
People need to balance their short-term financial plans with their long-term ones, which can be difficult. Many people have no idea what shape they’re in for retirement. It’s time to help them.

Help track medical costs
The cost of healthcare is rapidly spiraling out of control. Employees need to be very careful that every dollar they spend is allocated wisely.

Design confidential self-assessments
It’s common for people to be hesitant about sharing their finances with others. They do need to assess their health, though. Perhaps the best way to go is to offer employee assistance programs that include confidential, one-on-one coaching.

Assistance with setting and meeting goals
Above all, what people need is to be goal-oriented. With each paycheck, how much should they spend, and how much should they save? A good EAP can help with setting and meeting such goals.

Programs for investment planning
For those employees who have enough money tucked away that they can afford to invest some, they’d certainly benefit from some advice on exactly how to do so. Investment planning is complicated, but a little guidance at work can go a long way toward simplifying it.

Learn more about Ceridian LifeWorks, an awarding winning employee assistance program that empowers employees to tackle problems with easy-to-access information and resources.

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