Originally published in the Fall 2021 issue of Wake Living Magazine.
Eat right, exercise, get plenty rest. We all know the basics, even if we don’t always follow them. But, have you ever stopped to consider other forms of wellness and how they affect your overall well-being?
In recent years, mental and emotional health have been getting more attention, but there’s another form of well-being that can put a strain on our bodies and minds. It’s financial well-being, and a growing number of companies have taken an interest in it. If you run a business or manage large teams, can you afford to ignore your employees’ financial well-being? Probably not.
Why should employers be concerned?
Recent research has shown a link between employees’ money worries and productivity. One study by Mercer found that 5% of payroll is lost on employees distracted by finances during work hours. Put another way, if you have 20 people on your team, that’s like paying one of them to do nothing else but worry about making ends meet this month.
A 2020 study by PwC found that 38% of employees don’t have $1,000 saved for an unexpected expense, and more than half identify financial challenges as their leading cause of stress.
MaryAnne Gangoy, Coastal Credit Union’s VP of Wealth Management, sees it every day. She manages Coastal’s Wealth Management and Financial Well-Being departments, and Member Assistance Program, which help members navigate through financial challenges on a daily basis.
“Financial well-being affects overall well-being,” says Gangoy. “Employees with high financial stress are twice as likely to be in poor health, and four times as likely to suffer fatigue, headaches, and depression.” This strain is making employees more expensive for businesses, as they use more health benefits, miss more workdays, are less productive, and even cause more workplace accidents.
The case for financial well-being at work
A lot of companies have wellness programs to improve overall employee health and counteract rising healthcare costs. Following that same logic, it’s worthwhile to add a financial well-being component for your employees, too. After all, you’re probably their primary, or only, source of income. If they have bright spots with their relationship with money, you’re it, and it makes good sense to build on that.
You don’t have to do it alone. Just as your business likely taps into local partners for their expertise in helping employees with eating healthier, getting fit or improving habits, there are community resources available to help your employees assess their financial situation, make changes, and get to the next step on their financial journey.
Tina Clossick, Coastal’s VP of Corporate Partnerships, has a team dedicated to doing just that. In recent years, how the credit union partners with business has evolved.
“Back in the early days of credit unions, we typically worked with a single employer. In Coastal’s case, that was IBM,” says Clossick. “As we grew and added more companies to our membership, for the longest time their focus was on simply giving employees access to better rates and lower fees.”
“But, the days of just setting up in the lunch room and opening checking accounts are in the past. Now, employers want us to come in and help their employees get on a better track financially. We’re hosting on-site and virtual seminars, or even working one-on-one, to connect people with the knowledge, tools, and confidence they need to be successful financially.”
Over the coming years, companies that take this holistic approach to employee well-being are going to be the ones that succeed. It’s time to decide: will you be their paycheck, or their prosperity?