COMP NEWS – The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has released its sixth annual survey on employer financial wellness, providing key insights into how employee satisfaction and productivity are intertwined.

Results from the sixth annual Financial Well-being Employer Survey published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found that productivity and employee satisfaction were the primary reasons for employers to offer financial wellness benefit programs. Benefits decision-makers cited high costs of living as the top issue to address with financial wellness initiatives, supplanting retirement preparedness for the first time ever. While retirement preparedness remains an important area of focus for employers as the second most-cited area to address, issues such as healthcare costs, budgeting, money management, and daily living expenses rounded out the top five, perhaps signaling an increase in employers’ concern for their workers’ day-to-day finances.

“The survey shows that financial well-being programs are being used to increase worker satisfaction and retention. However, employers cited cost to employees, as well as to the company itself, as challenges in offering financial well-being programs,” said Craig Copeland, director of wealth benefits research at EBRI. “Perhaps as a result, employers frequently cited measuring their financial wellness offerings’ impact on employee productivity and worker satisfaction. At the same time, most benefits decision-makers reported being optimistic that their company’s budget for these benefits will increase in the short term so that they anticipate continued development of these programs.”

The survey reveals that an astounding amount of companies are not developing cost-benefit analyses around employer satisfaction and its influence on retention and productivity.

  • Measuring success: The top factors in measuring financial wellness initiatives’ success were increased employee productivity and improved overall worker satisfaction. The next two most cited factors were improved use of existing employee benefits and improved employee retention. This is a change from 2022, when the satisfaction and retention measures were cited most often. Reflecting that, while having an attractive workplace is still an important reason for offering financial wellness benefits, business factors are also an integral part of the measurement rubric.
  • Cost-benefit analysis: Approximately 87% of the companies reported having explicitly developed a cost-benefit analysis based on employee satisfaction, employee attraction and retention, employee productivity, or medical and mental health claims to evaluate their financial wellness offerings. Employee attraction and retention was just below productivity, showing that employers are still looking at satisfaction measures but are also looking at these programs’ direct benefits to their company relative to the costs of them.
  • Top issues, areas of focus, and challenges: Companies’ top issues to address with their financial wellness initiatives were the high cost of living, retirement preparedness, and healthcare costs. For top focus areas, investments and retirement planning were the top-cited primary focus, with basic financing and education and consulting programs being the next most-mentioned areas of focus. The top challenges to offering these programs were costs to both the employer and the employee. Outside of costs, data and privacy concerns and the complexity surrounding the programs were the top challenges faced by employers.

To get the survey, click here.

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