With an impaired financial wellness, employees are looking to their benefits as a crucial resource
by Sharon ScanlonMs. Scanlon is Vice President, Workplace Solutions Customer Experience and Producer Solutions Lincoln Financial Group. Visit www.lfg.com
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of daily life, yet a positive trend has emerged: Americans are more actively engaged in their finances.
New research shows that 79% of full-time employed U.S. adults say COVID-19 has changed the way they think about planning for their financial future, and 93% say that the pandemic has motivated them to take one or more specific actions to improve their finances.
Amid this need for financial resources, it is important that employers provide their employees with education on benefits offered at the workplace and how these benefits can help protect income and savings.
Employers don’t have to go it alone — now, more than ever, insurance carriers are there to partner with them, offering support and providing employees with the information they need to take charge of their financial wellness and benefits options.
Increased Need for Benefits
Employees across the U.S. are increasingly focused on improving their finances, but they need help navigating the challenges they are facing. One of the main causes of stress for employees is their personal financial situation, with an overwhelming 91% of full-time U.S. employees saying they are concerned about some aspect of financial wellness, and 32% saying their financial situation makes them feel more stressed, nervous or overwhelmed.
Heightened financial stress among the workforce can have spillover effects on employees’ productivity. Nearly four out of five employees (78%) who report high financial stress say they are distracted by stress at work, and 39% of employees say money concerns keep them from doing their best at work.
All of this stress around finances can have a marked impact on an employer’s bottom line. The cost of lost productivity and greater staff turnover due to lack of financial wellness equates to 11-14% of total salary cost for an employer, or almost $500 billion annually for corporate America.
Ensuring that employees have the right benefits to feel protected can help ease this financial burden. Insurance coverages offered at the workplace, such as disability, life, dental, accident or critical illness, can help protect income and savings. Without the right protections in place, an accident or illness can derail retirement savings, disrupt an employee’s ability to provide for their family or drive them into additional debt.
And while eight in 10 workers would like education on how to manage competing financial priorities, only 16% of workers report being offered help with understanding and finding that balance.
By offering information on benefits protections and access to financial wellness tools and resources, employers have a significant opportunity to improve employees’ financial health while also strengthening their businesses.
Tailored Support for Employers
Employees are turning to their employers at higher rates than before the pandemic for information on benefits and protection. In fact, 34% of employees report they have reached out to their employers for benefits information, and 24% of employees report that they more often look to their employers for benefits information now, as compared to the time before COVID-19.
It’s important for employers to communicate how the solutions offered can protect their employee’s financial health and well-being. Offering a well-rounded benefits package sends a clear and deliberate message that you care about employees both inside and outside of the office.
On-demand digital resources, virtual documents and digital tools showcase the added services that come with certain products and can also help employees get the most value from their benefits.
Employees do not need to be convinced about the importance of workplace benefits. What they need is access to resources that can help them make informed decisions. By partnering with your carrier, you can ensure your employees have the resources and tools they need to achieve their long-term objectives.
Attract and Retain the New Workforce
As employees progress through different life stages, they are increasingly focused on things that may have an impact on their current and long-term financial wellbeing. Currently, more than one in three American labor force participants are millennials (those born between 1977-1995), making them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force.
In order to attract and retain this younger generation of employees, employers need to offer and educate them on benefits and cost, and provide them with digital tools and access that fits their lifestyle.
Employers can partner with their carriers to offer the tools younger employees need to make benefits selections, including digital calculators that help estimate life insurance and disability coverage needs. On-demand access to educational materials could prove extremely helpful, as 62% of millennials have given up searching for information about benefits because it was just too overwhelming or confusing.
Strong benefits packages don’t just get younger generations in the door, they keep them there. After salary, millennials report that benefits most influence if they stay with a company (51%), and 57% have stayed at a job longer than they wanted to — even though they didn’t like the job — because the job offered good benefits.
By offering a comprehensive benefits package, and robust education about those benefits, employers can help ensure they are attracting top talent and recruiting and retaining this younger generation of employees.
Power of Partnership
By partnering together, your carrier should be an extension of your team, understanding your business and going further at every touchpoint to deliver tailored solutions for you and your employees, and make it easy for you to get the answers you need, when you need them; easy to empower and educate your employees; and easy to make decisions—and move forward—confidently.
1 Lincoln Financial, COVID-19 Sentiment Tracking Study, 7/1/20-7/14/20
2 Lincoln Financial, COVID-19 Sentiment Tracking Study, July 1, 2020, to July 14, 2020.
3 U.S. Employee Perspectives on Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace, Lincoln Financial and CivicScience (2021)
4 Financial Health Network survey of 1,000 U.S. workers employed full-time for companies with more than 500 employees (2018)
5 Willis Towers Watson 2019/2020 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, February 2020
6 Salary Finance, The Employer’s Guide to Financial Wellness, 2019
7 Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald & Associates, 2020 Retirement Confidence Survey
8 LIMRA Consumer Sentiment Survey (May 2020)
10 Millennial & Gen Z Reflections on Workplace Benefits & Financial Planning, Lincoln Financial and The Center for Generational Kinetics, 2019
11 Millennial & Gen Z Reflections on Workplace Benefits & Financial Planning, Lincoln Financial and The Center for Generational Kinetics, 2019