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It's no secret that financially stressed employees contribute to lower productivity and higher absenteeism—two characteristics often associated with low levels of “employee engagement.”


There are some rather concerning statistics that illustrate this trend from PwC’s Special Report: Financial stress and the bottom line:

  • 44% of financially stressed employees deal with money problems 3+ hours each week while on the clock.
  • Financially stressed employees are 2X more likely to miss work due to personal financial issues

But instead of discussing how financial stress is hurting the bottom line, I’d like to explore the dynamic of how supporting financial well-being can bolster employee engagement.

First, let’s start with some definitions of employee engagement:

  • Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse says that it is the “emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”
  • Quantum Workplace defines it as “the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work.”
  • Gallup describes engaged employees as those who are “involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.”
  • Aon Hewitt defines the employee engagement as "the level of an employee's psychological investment in their organization."

Notice some similarities? Read the definitions again, paying close attention to the words emotional, mental, enthusiasm, and psychological. These are states of mind—or rather states of heart. When employers invest in employee well-being, including financial well-being, it sends a message that they care about their employees’ mind, body, and soul.

On May 16, I will be part of a panel where we will discuss how small investments in employee financial well-being benefits and programs can go a long way toward demonstrating that an employer truly cares about their employees—solutions that speak directly to employees’ hearts, thereby increasing the likelihood for higher levels of engagement. Join us to learn about solutions like:

  • Emergency savings benefits that help employees absorb unforeseen financial shocks, prevent 401k “leakage,” and make the right choice the easy choice through split direct deposits and savings matches.
  • Small-dollar loans that provide alternatives to high-cost credit (e.g., payday loans) and provide options for employees with poor or no credit.
  • Financial counseling that allows employees with the lowest credit scores to make the greatest increases in their scores.

These are just a few of the solutions we’ll discuss. Just as important, we’ll also introduce some best practices employers can use to uncover their employees’ true financial concerns. The data hiding in your benefits administration platform and other HR systems has a compelling story to tell—and one that can help you determine which benefits and programs may yield the greatest return in developing “financially healthier” employees who may be willing to go the extra mile for you as their employer.

And, in cases where the existing data falls short, we’ll show you how a well-constructed employee survey can help you fill in the gaps in creating a workforce that is more confident in their financial situation and better able to bring their best selves to work each day.

Employee financial well-being

View all Posts by Brian Cosgray