What’s the top employee benefit for 2017? It turns out that financial wellness programs are all the rage.
For decades, the primary financial wellness tool employers offered their employees was a 401k or some other sort of qualified retirement account. That’s all changing, according to Aon Hewitt’s 2017 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing survey.
The study, now in its 13th year, found that financial wellness is fast becoming employers’ top HR initiative with 92 percent of employers saying they’re very or moderately likely to focus on financial wellness beyond retirement decisions this year. Six out of 10 employers said the importance of financial wellness programs for their company has increased in the last year.
About half of the companies surveyed are still working on building their financial wellness programs, but many are already offering at least some tools to help workers focus on their finances. Fifty-eight percent or employers currently offer at least one financial wellness tool and that number is expected to climb to 84 percent by the end of 2017.
And employers acknowledge that financial stress isn’t limited to employees’ finances: some 86 percent of employers are likely to talk about the link between financial and physical health with their employees this year.
In addition to building financial wellness programs and initiatives, employers also want to build participation in their existing financial benefits programs, most of which focus on preparing employees for retirement. Only 10 percent say their employees are knowledgeable enough about their retirement savings needs and 87 percent say they’ll take action this year to help employees reach their retirement goals.
They’re also looking for ways to make sure pension plans will still have funding by the time employees are ready to use them. According to the study, employers are looking for ways to shore up weaknesses in their pension programs to protect them against stock market volatility.
There are more insights included in the report, which you can download for free from Aon Hewitt.