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January 2019
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TD Magazine

Helping Employees Reach Their Financial Fitness Goals

Finishing the marathon begins by taking the first step.

Employees Working Past Normal Retirement Age. Millennials Have Nothing Saved for Retirement. Downward Mobility Seen in Retirement. Adult Children Contributing Monetary Support for Parents or In-Laws.

The headlines around financial health are nothing short of grim. PwC found that 25 percent of employees (of those who didn't have access) would like to see a financial wellness benefit with access to unbiased counselors as an employee benefit.

Another PwC report notes that about 28 percent of employees said financial worries are affecting their health. Twenty-two percent said productivity at work was affected, and 12 percent said they missed work as a result of financial concerns.

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So, if employers want to retain their talent and get the most out of their people, they have legitimate cause for concern about their employees' financial well-being. But, according to the Next Avenue article "Why Workplace Financial Wellness Programs Aren't Well," employer financial wellness programs fall short.

Why?

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In large part, it's due to a disparity in what employees want and what employers provide. The article reveals that employees want simple, one-next-step advice; employers, by contrast, are looking at the big picture of employer benefits' impact on employee personal finances.

An example of a company trying to do better is SunTrust, which sought to improve its staff's financial well-being by first surveying them. The result was Momentum on Up for Teammates, a program that provides online and face-to-face training on such financial challenges as paying down a loan, applying for a mortgage, and improving one's credit score. In "The Future of Work: Three New HR Roles in the Age of Artificial Intelligence," Jeanne Meister writes that SunTrust saw a participation rate among its employees of 79 percent.

To achieve success, some solutions include polling employees to understand their financial concerns and what tools they may find beneficial, as well as creating a communications plan so employees understand a plan's objectives.

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

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