Written by CultureCon Guest Blogger Sarah Campagna
If someone were to ask what percentage of your employees are dealing with financial stress, what would your answer be? We’re guessing your response would be higher now, during the pandemic. But even then, your estimate might be lower than the reality: Did you know almost half (46%) of all Americans couldn’t cover an unexpected $400 expense even before COVID-19 hit? And that people at every income level are struggling?
What’s causing the stress?
The short answer? Lots of things, and that was before the current crisis. Many employees are helping support their parents, their kids – or even both. Plus, the purchasing power of American wages hasn’t gone up in decades, roughly a quarter of Americans don’t have any savings and people of all ages don’t have a budget. It’s no surprise people tend to run out of a paycheck before they run out of bills and are under a lot of financial pressure.
What does financial stress look like?
Even employees who seem to have it all together are probably looking for help. Just think of the range of financial decisions most of us have to navigate –like paying down student loan or credit card debt, saving for a house, funding our kids’ college and retirement planning. It’s no wonder employees have questions and concerns even in the best of times.
People deal with financial stress in different ways. Stressed-out people sometimes bring that anxiety to work with them. And that can lead to mistakes, accidents, low morale, high turnover, theft and cashing out retirement benefits early – which can cause even more stress.
Want to help employees bring their best self to work?
Consider offering a financial wellness program.
You care about your staff’s well-being and you know it can be easy for personal worries to bleed into the workday. If you’re like a lot of organizations, you might already be offering assistance with retirement, especially 401(k) planning. That’s a great place to start, but most employees need a whole lot more. Many companies have started to offer financial wellness programs that help employees tackle a widerange of financial issues. Most hire an outside company to provide the program because their staff don’t have the expertise or time to handle it on their own.
Investigating financial wellness programs?
Here’s what to look for.
A structured program that’s ready to roll out. Your launch staff will thank you for choosing a program that doesn’t add to their already busy schedule.
User-friendly digital tools, organized by topic. Employees often investigate financial resources because of a life event (marriage, birth, job change, etc.). They need tools that are easy to search and available on their schedule.
Multi-channel education tools. Employees have different learning styles. Look for a partner that can offer both in-person and online resources.
Content and service options. To avoid overlap with other benefit providers, find a resource that lets you pick and choose what your program includes.
Culture-friendly programs. Employees aren’t likely to use a resource they don’t connect with. Choose one that meshes with your organization.
A “non-salesy” style. Employees are likely to be turned off by anything that feels like it’s designed to sell them a product or service.
Ready to help your employees manage financial stress? Summit Credit Union’s Financial Wellness for Employees program could be a great fit. This comprehensive program fosters employees’ financial confidence and stability, to reduce worry and stress and promote healthier, happier lives – at work and beyond. To learn more, contact Summit today.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2015,” May 2016, https://www.federalreserve.gov/2015-report-economic-well-being-us-households-201605.pdf. cited in CFSI “Employee Financial Health: How Companies Can Invest in Workplace Wellness” May 2017 https://s3.amazonaws.com/ cfsi-innovation-files/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/26183930/2017-Employee-FinHealth.pdf
Gabler, Neal. (2016) “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans.” The Atlantic. May, 2016. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/
Desilver, Drew. (2018) “For most U.S. workers, real wages have barely budged in decades.” Pew Research Center. Aug. 7, 2018. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/
Goldberg, Matthew. “Don’t have an emergency fund? You’re risking financial disaster” Bankrate, Aug. 30 2018. Cited in PeopleScience.com https://peoplescience.maritz.com/Articles/2019/Money-Stress-Creates-Work-Mess
About the author:
Sarah Campagna is a driven leader and coach with a passion for purposeful work that directly influences wellbeing. In her role as Managing Vice President of Business Development & Financial Empowerment at Summit Credit Union, she supports and develops her team of financial wellness coaches. For the employer partners in the Financial Wellness for Employees by Summit Credit Union program, she builds connections and guides the financial wellbeing of their employees. Her leadership also extends to the community where she has served on the board of the Middleton Chamber of Commerce for five years, most recently serving as President.
Sarah’s 20 years in the financial industry have been spent largely in retail branch leadership. This work has afforded her many opportunities to make an impact on people’s financial wellbeing, including coaching one of Summit’s Project Money families in 2013.
When it comes to her own wellness, Sarah takes time for mindfulness, crafting and getting outdoors. She also became a certified yoga instructor in 2012 and fulfilled a long-time dream in 2018 when she travelled to Costa Rica for a meditation and yoga retreat.