Spokane Journal of Business

Offering wellness tools can help retain employees

Workers feel stressed by economic conditions

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As labor shortages continue to impact companies across industries, businesses are shifting their focus to employee retention. According to Bank of America’s recent Workplace Benefits Report, 46% of employers have seen an increase in resignations over the past year while one in three employees have switched jobs or thought about switching jobs.

Our research shows employees are significantly stressed by current economic conditions, leading to a decrease in their feelings of personal financial wellness. The percentage of employees who feel financially well hit a five-year low in July. Perceptions of financial wellness are also impacted by ethnicity, gender, and generational factors. For instance, women continue to trail men in their feelings about financial wellness and preparedness and employees of color are reporting significantly lower feelings of financial wellness compared to white employees.

Many leaders already feel responsible for our employees’ financial well-being. However, as employers address record levels of turnover amid a period of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever to provide additional support and resources.

What should leaders do to retain their workforce? A vast majority of employers now say that offering financial wellness tools can reduce employee attrition, and wellness tools can help attract higher-quality employees. To help retain and empower their workforce, employers should consider the following:

•Embrace employee financial wellness and expand support. Given rising inflation, employees are feeling the pinch financially. Employers should embrace programs, such as financial coaching and digital tools that help employees plan and manage their finances better. For example, 91% of companies see higher employee satisfaction when they offer resources to manage overall well-being. Companies that take it a step further and broaden their wellness programs to include mental and physical wellness resources see noticeable improvements in productivity, employee stress, morale, creativity, and innovation.

•Provide access to investment advice. Employees are eager to invest and grow their wealth, but it can be an intimidating process. Four in 10 employees say they want access to advice from an investment professional. Armed with that knowledge, 62% of employers are now offering employees access to investment advice services. Whether it’s an internal team or external partner, give your team the tools they need to feel confident in financial decisions.

•Focus on health care education. Eighty-four percent of employers feel very responsible for their employees’ understanding of retirement health care needs and costs, and 89% of employers who offer Health Savings Accounts contribute to their employees’ savings. Yet, only 54% of employers communicate about these topics at least once a year. There’s a big opportunity to improve communication and educate employees about their health care benefits. Take the time to remind them about their options, especially as you gear up for open enrollment.

•Equity grants are powerful recruitment and retention incentives. As an employer, you have insight into compensation and should regularly review pay and conduct an equity analysis. Seventy-six percent of employers believe equity compensation is a differentiator for employee recruitment and retention, and 44% of employees who participate in equity compensation plans say it was an important reason for accepting the job.

Employers remain critical to helping employees achieve overall wellness. After all, it has been estimated that a person will spend one-third of their life at work. As an employer, it’s imperative to take the initiative and give your team the tools to not only survive but thrive.

Kurt Walsdorf is the Bank of America business banking region executive for the Pacific Northwest, and bank president for Spokane-Boise.

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