The Financial Health Network, the nation’s authority on financial health, today released the Employer Financial Health Toolkit, a comprehensive guide for HR professionals to improve the financial health of their employees. This project is funded by the Target Foundation.
The pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout have left employees at all income levels — but especially those with low to moderate incomes — struggling with many aspects of their financial lives. This financial stress has spillover effects on productivity at work with nearly 80% (78%) of employees with high financial stress saying it impacts their work and nearly three-fourths (74%) of employees reporting that they are looking to employers for solutions.
By designing HR strategies, policies, and practices with an eye towards improving financial health outcomes, employers have an opportunity to improve both employee wellbeing and business performance at the same time. Employee financial health can also be a powerful component of employers’ diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, particularly for employee segments most likely to struggle financially.
“Investing in employee financial health of the workforce isn’t just the right thing to do for employees — it’s also a win-win for employers and their bottom line,” said Beth Brockland, senior director at Financial Health Network. “Improving employee financial health reduces employee stress, improves employee engagement and productivity, and contributes to more equitable workforces.”
This Toolkit provides a roadmap for HR leaders who are committed to improving the financial health of their employees. The sections of the Toolkit represent the four key stages of designing and implementing a workforce financial health strategy:
- Diagnose financial health needs: This first step helps employers understand the employees’ financial health challenges and prioritize the most acute needs. It also includes looking for financial health gaps among employee segments and prioritizing the needs of the groups who are struggling the most.
- Identify financial health solutions: Organizations should then execute a gap analysis to help them understand where there are gaps in their existing benefits and identify solutions that can meet the financial health needs of their employees, particularly those with the greatest financial health needs. This can be a mix of enhancing existing solutions, and considering new options.
- Design an engagement strategy: Once an organization has identified the financial health solutions, they will need to develop a custom engagement strategy that will encourage positive outcomes for all employees. This includes access to benefits, effectively communicating the value that benefits can offer, and helping employees navigate benefit choice overload.
- Measure impact: Finally, teams will identify the metrics that will track effects of financial health solutions over time such as reduced employee stress and business impacts such as improved client care, fewer on-the-job accidents, and increased productivity.
The roadmap helps employers understand where their employees are on the financial health spectrum–financially healthy, vulnerable or coping– so that they can develop a strategy that addresses the unique needs of specific employee segments. Each organization will engage with the Employer Financial Health Toolkit differently depending on where they are on the journey towards a financial health strategy for their workforce. While some employers have already begun to address workforce financial health, others have not. This-all-in-one guide is meant to provide the tools necessary for any organization at any phase.