In her Hub International blog post, “Reduce Employee Financial Stress,” Heather Garbers acknowledges that employers already recognize that their people are struggling financially – and that it is taking a toll not only on them personally, but also in the workplace. The financial stress can affect employees’ health as well as their presenteeism and productivity. This dilemma is making financial wellness an important added dimension of today’s evolving culture of well-being.
Now more than ever, there are innovative benefit options and strategies that employers can bring to the table to relieve the financial stress on employees – offered as either affordable employee or employer-paid voluntary or group benefits.
Among the four spotlighted strategies that Garbers offers to strengthen the financial health of employees are employee purchase programs. She illustrates an example such as when people are experiencing financial stress and are confronted with unexpected expenses – say a refrigerator dies or their child needs a computer for homework – and then they may take on high interest credit card debt or a payday loan. But, as she points out, through employee purchasing programs they can avoid amassing high interest rate charges. Purchasing programs allow employees to make online purchases and pay for them through either paycheck deductions or monthly bank drafts over time for a number of brand name products, with no credit checks, hidden fees or interest charges. Another advantage is the employers are not liable for payments but rather serve as a trusted sponsor and conduit, giving employees a useful option to meet their needs.
The other three benefit options are student loan assistance; low interest installment loans and credit; and financial planning and wellness services.