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How to Ease Employees’ Economic Concerns

March 31, 2022 | By Suraiya Sarwar

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After two years of COVID-19 disrupting people’s lives coupled with economic and political turmoil, it comes as no surprise that finances are the top cause of financial stress for employees today.

Recent data from the U.S. government showed that consumer prices were up 7.9% in February from a year earlier, the highest annual inflation in over 40 years. Along with consumer prices, gasoline prices experienced an astonishing increase of 38% year-over-year, while national rent prices continue to reach all-time highs. As the war in Ukraine continues to impact the supply chain and prices of food and energy, the economic outlook remains grim for individuals everywhere.

It’s more important than ever for employers to try and assuage their employees’ economic concerns. This blog covers how every employer can provide financial relief and education below.

Why Providing Financial Help is a Win-Win 

According to PwCs’ 2021 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 57% of employees nationally say their productivity at work has been affected by financial issues. Financial stress can take a significant toll on an employee’s life, impacting their work-life through decreased productivity and stress. Employers who invest in their employees can experience benefits such as increased employee engagement, productivity, and success.

Offer a Financial Wellness Program

81% of employers have seen improvements in their teams since offering financial wellness programs. Employers can leverage a financial wellness program to mitigate these financial concerns and help improve their employees’ financial wellbeing. If you want your financial wellness program to be successful, it’s important to ensure that the program goes beyond providing the right tools and knowledge – there must be follow-through with the application.

A few ways your organization can achieve this goal are hosting different lecture series, providing access to financial professionals easily and readily, and providing educational materials. To take it a step further, your company can partner with financial institutions so employees can work directly with financial professionals on a personalized financial plan. In addition, directly assisting employees through various financial assistance programs, whether with a wellness stipend or student loan assistance, can immediately offload part of your employees’ financial concerns.

Offset High Gas Prices with Flexible Options

As gas prices surge, many employees commuting to the office are left feeling the pain. Fortunately, this pain point gives employers a way to use this as an opportunity to implement flexible work arrangements through a remote work policy or shorter work week.

Certain states such as Oklahoma and Kentucky already have implemented state-sponsored telework and flextime programs so commuters can save on gas prices. Other states such as Utah and school districts have chosen to leverage a 4-day work week so that employees can benefit from cost savings. HR teams can also work together to help organize carpools to the office and offer further benefits such as designated parking for employees who carpool.

Another great tip is to partner with your local city or county to offer discounts for public transportation. Since there seems to be no end in sight to rising gas prices, being flexible with employees will help in remedying this situation.

Boost Employee Benefits

Is your company’s benefits package competitive and up-to-date? If not, it may be time to investigate boosting your benefits. Healthcare costs have only continued to remain on the rise for employees seeking care, so providing an attractive and affordable health care plan should be at the top of the list for employers. If your organization is a hybrid or remote model, consider adding in a stipend that can help offset the costs of working from home. Other leading employers are expanding childcare and student loan benefits, both high costs that many employees face. By creating the right benefits package, your organization can alleviate many of your employees’ financial concerns and boost team success.

By leveraging these tools and providing resources, you can create a centralized process around bettering your employees’ financial well-being and skills.

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