Updated: Feb 15
You have worked hard to build your business and acknowledge that would not be possible without a dedicated team of employees. Many of them are like family to you. Sharing stories at company picnics or coaching their kids in little league, the bond you have with your employees go beyond business hours.
Your employee family has supported the goals of your company and its customers. In some cases, you have shared the rewards of company success with employees through stock ownership or profit sharing. This is admirable, but how do you support your employees’ financial well-being beyond compensation and health insurance?
Consider developing a financial wellness program for your team. Supporting good financial habits at home can ease stress on employees, increase productivity and happiness, reduce employee turnover, and decrease absenteeism. Regardless of income level, 30% of employees are living paycheck to paycheck. While 60% of households have less than 3 months of savings for financial emergencies and 37% of workers have more debt than they can manage.
How can a financial wellness program help?
A well designed financial wellness program can help employees:
Better meet day to day expenses
Build capacity to handle a financial emergency
Identify short and long term goals
Learn steps to meet those goals
The benefit for your employees can be:
Feeling of financial freedom
Reduced anxiety, stress, and fear related to finances
Strike a balance between living responsibly today and planning wisely for tomorrow
What are the most important features of a financial wellness program?
For a financial wellness program to have long-term commitment, the following is mandatory:
Resources provided to support the program
Proactively encouraging participation
Monitoring program success
Most importantly, programs and information should be tailored to different stages of life and income levels. What works for recently hired millennials may not be relevant to baby boomers nearing retirement.
The 4 Components of a Financial Wellness Program
As you consider a financial wellness program it is important to select a partner that can provide all four components of a program to ensure success for your employees. You may want to form a committee within your organization to evaluate vendors.
Program Design should begin with surveying employees to learn what matters most to them. Do they need help with stretching their income, learning how to qualify for a mortgage, or how to get out of debt? Some employees may have more advanced concerns such as maximizing participation in the 401k Plan and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) or minimizing income taxes. Employees near retirement may need help selling company stock and making decisions on how to invest proceeds in a tax efficient manner. The goal of retiring employees is learning how to turn an ESOP or 401k into retirement income.
Launch Preparation & Program Implementation
In terms of preparation and implementation, leadership can create a committee representing diverse employee demographic groups. They can be tasked with identifying and interviewing vendors to work with. A good vendor should conduct a needs assessment with both leadership and employees. Consider a program that provides multiple learning methods such as video training, print materials, email reminders, and materials or toolkits such as budget worksheets and retirement calculators. Some vendors offer on site workshops targeted to specific topics.
Measurement & Reporting
It is important to work with a vendor that provides measurement and reporting on how well employees are learning the material and how their feelings about financial freedom and money anxiety have changed across time. The topics most important to employees may change across their careers and economic cycles.
What makes an employee wellness program successful?
Consistent and long term implementation of a program is important to see the benefits reach employees and their families. It may take three to ten years to reap the full benefits of a wellness program. The most successful employee wellness programs include regular surveys of participants, leadership support of the program for at least 5 or more years, and employee buy-in.
Beyond a 401k plan and ESOP or other stock compensation program, an employee wellness program will benefit your employee’s financial well being, mental health, and overall happiness as well. Employees will be happier at home and at work, and will be more productive working with colleagues and your customers.
Are you a business owner?
If you own a business and would like to learn more about starting an employee wellness program, take advantage of the following resources:
Peak Wealth Planning provides education for ESOP participants who are nearing retirement. We specialize in helping participants sell back company stock and invest to create a sustainable retirement paycheck. We offer this in person or remotely using Zoom.
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About the Author
Peter Newman is a Chartered Financial Advisor (CFA) and president of Peak Wealth Planning. He works with individuals nationwide that have accumulated wealth through company stock, ESOP shares, real estate, or running a business. Peter applies his unique background to help clients achieve their specific goals and enjoy peace of mind.
Peak Wealth Planning provides concierge services to meet your wealth management needs. Services include: financial planning, investment management, esop diversification, retirement income, insurance, and estate planning advice. Peak Wealth Planning is a fee-based financial advisor based in Champaign, Illinois, and Fraser, Colorado.